Spending on Zuma home a 'misappropriation of public funds'

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
25 March 2014

The predicted R246.6 million (£13.8 million) bill for upgrade works to South African president Jacob Zuma’s home is “unconscionable, excessive, and caused a misappropriation of public funds”.

Following an investigation, public protector Thuli Madonsela has declared some of the works “unlawful”, with procurement rules and policies breached.

In a report Madonsela said a swimming pool and amphitheatre at Nkandla went beyond the security works Zuma was entitled to under regulations.

The report said the current cost of the project was R215 million (£12.1 million) but this was predicted to rise to R246.6 million.

Madonsela said: “President Zuma told Parliament that his family had built its own houses and the state had not built any for it or benefited them. This was not true. It is common cause that in the name of security, government built for the president and his family a visitors’ centre, cattle kraal and chicken run, swimming pool and amphitheatre, among others.”

The report said officials “failed dismally” to follow procurement rules, including: “an absence of demand management; improper delegations; failure to procure services and goods costing above R500,000 (£28,153) through a competitive tender process; failure to conduct due diligence leading to the engagement of service providers such as the principal agent without the necessary qualifications or capacity for security measures; failure to ensure security clearance for service providers, and allowing scope creep leading to exponential scope and cost escalations”.

Madonsela said Zuma should calculate the cost of works not related to security and pay a “reasonable percentage of the cost of the measures”.

She also said the case highlighted “systemic policy gaps and administrative deficiencies in the regulatory framework used as authority for implementing security measures at the private residences” of presidents and former presidents.

In a statement the presidency said: “The president will study the findings and recommendations of the public protector in the context of the existing government interventions, and will communicate his response in due course.”

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