Controversial upgrade of South African president’s home cost R206 million

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
24 December 2013
A declassified report into the costs incurred in security installations at South African president Jacob Zuma’s home shows R206 million (£12.2 million) was spent on the project.
 
The report was produced in January after concerns were raised about the cost of the work, but it was classified as “top secret” because it “contained details related to security aspects of the installation”, the South African government said in a statement.
 
However, the cabinet has now decided to release the report, which showed the security work – including fencing, a “fire pool” and a 4 metre-high terraced “retaining wall” – cost R71 million (£4.2 million). Associated works including water, power and “accommodation for security personnel” at the home, in a “remote rural area” of the KwaZulu-Natal province, cost a further R135 million (£8 million).
 
The report, drawn up by the ministerial task team appointed by the
 
“For instance, large variation orders and the high percentage spent on consultancy fees point to the possibility of over-pricing and collusion,” said the report.
 
Further criminal investigations are taking place.
 
In the statement the government said: “It is the responsibility of the Department of Public Works to implement the recommendations from the security cluster and to manage the costs of the project in line with the cabinet policy of 2003. Attempts to lay the responsibility for the upgrade at the door of the president are misdirected.”
 
South Africa’s official opposition party the Democratic Alliance called the report a “whitewash” and pledged to investigate the matter further.
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