South African president Jacob Zuma says police minister should decide liability for controversial...

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
20 August 2014

South African president Jacob Zuma has called on the minister of police to determine whether he is liable for any of the cost of controversial upgrades to his home.

Zuma has published a report in response to a number of reports into the works at his Nkandla home, the cost of which is predicted to rise to R246.6 million (£13.8 million).

In her highly critical report public protector Thuli Madonsela said Zuma should pay a “reasonable percentage” of the cost of the works.

In his response Zuma said the installation of security upgrades and construction of buildings “for the benefit of security personnel” were not “at my behest”, and he was “not intimately involved with the finer details”.

He said in relation to the building works he “expressed concern with what appeared to be inordinately lengthy delays which impacted on my family”.

“Equally, I found some of the security features like the bullet-proof windows an excessive encroachment on my use and enjoyment of my property,” he said.

Zuma said an inquiry by the Special Investigating Unit, which he ordered, found “non-compliance” among Department of Public Works (DPW) officials “with supply chain management processes with regard to the appointment of at least some of the contractors, suppliers or service providers”.

There was “overcharging by at least some of the consultants” who were “entitled to charge 18.5 per cent of the total value of the contract” but instead charged 25 per cent, and some suppliers “appear to have submitted fraudulent Tax Clearance Certificates”.

The report said some suppliers had not been vetted by the State Security Agency, some contractors did not have the necessary industry accreditation and “there may have been undue interference by the former minister and former deputy minister [of the DPW] in the appointment of certain contractors”.

The report said: “The evidence gathered is still being carefully analysed to consider its full implications for the purposes of seeking positive outcomes in respect of disciplining department officials who have committed misconduct, prosecuting those who have committed criminal offences.”

Zuma also said the minister of the DPW would “urgently report to the cabinet on the review of protocols and procedures regarding procurement, expenditure and oversight applicable to prestige and related projects”.

The opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) described Zuma's response as “wholly inadequate” and “an attempt to sidestep the true purpose of accounting to parliament for his actions”. Following pressure from the DA an ad hoc committee has been established by parliament to investigate the president's response. 

“We must get to the true bottom of how R246 million of public funds went into funding the private residence of one man,” said the DA.

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