President Zuma authorised Nkandla renovations - police memo

Amanda Khoza, News24

Pietermaritzburg - President Jacob Zuma ordered in no uncertain terms that extra flats be built for police members at his Nkandla home, according to an internal police memorandum.

"By instruction of the State President, President Zuma, the existing house at Nkandla currently accommodate (sic) SAPS members must be converted as part of the president's household.

"To cater for the needs of the members currently accommodated in the house as refer above (sic), additional bachelor flats need to be added to the needs assessment previously provided to your department."

This instruction, signed by senior superintendent LF Linde, is contained in the memorandum read out during deliberations by the Nkandla ad hoc committee happening in Pietermaritzburg on Thursday, after an inspection of the compound on Wednesday.

The document, dated October 23 2009, was part of a file handed over to the committee by Police Minister Nathi Nhleko in the KwaZulu-Natal legislature earlier this week.

But the committee on Thursday still presented a united front when they deliberated over their visit to Zuma’s private residence in Nkandla, northern KwaZulu-Natal.

The committee discussed their experience against Nhlako’s report which was presented on Tuesday at the KZN Legislature in Pietermaritzburg.

Shoddy workmanship, inflated prices

Shoddy workmanship, inflated prices and the lack of security at the homestead dominated the deliberations Thursday morning.

The ACDP’s Steve Swart said the visit was insightful. “However what is very apparent is that there was shoddy workmanship and the state did not receive value for money. Tiles are lifting, walls are cracking and dust is gathering - no wonder members of the public have been outraged.

“When you look at the size of the kraal, was there a need for build a larger one for R1.2m, this is an exorbitant amount and we can see that the president has unduly benefited from the upgrades.

“A cabinet memorandum, which is a principle decision made in 2003, states that the SAPS should communicate the upgrades and he must consent to the upgrades, we hold the view that he was aware of the upgrades,” he said referring to a police document which revealed that President Jacob Zuma may have been aware of security upgrades in his home in 2009.

ANC MP Mmamoloko Kubayi said Zuma is not safe in Nkandla.

“Most of the things that are supposed to be working are not because they are not connected and heads must roll for that.

“I agree that the costs were escalated. I have mixed emotions about yesterday. Let’s start with the reception area, that area is not a visitor’s centre. That amphitheatre, there is no amphitheatre, that area is a gathering area. The fire pool is just a small pool that can be used to fight fires and for recreation.”

DA MP James Selfe said the taxpayers had been ripped off in a monumental way.

“I agree that the visitors centre is just a constituency office. There was a toilet that was not even working and to receive a head of state there would be embarrassing.

“We found it extraordinary that the clinic which was designed for the use of the president, the SANDF and the community, was not even in use.

“We need to know to what extent did the president consent or condone these upgrades? What we need to establish is what other instructions were given out by President Jacob Zuma that certain infrastructure should be made part of his residence.”

Security leaves much to be desired

IFP MP Narend Singh said the police barracks, the clinic and the helipad were directly linked to the president’s home. “There is not security in the complex. The security in the complex leaves much to be desired. The public is not wrong that Nkandla is a palace because of the abject poverty surrounding the place but there is nothing luxurious about the president’s home. There is total lack of accountability,” said Singh.

ANC MP Vincent Smith said an impression had been created that the president’s house cost R246-million. “During our visit there it was evident that at least R135-million had nothing to do with the president’s private homestead. The R246-million that is ascribed to the president is not correct and the minister’s report showed us that.”

Agang SA’s Andries Tlouamma said it would have helped to visit the residence before the minister presented this report. “The principal agent was Minenhle Makhanya and it is said that he was appointed by the president before he became the president.

“He was again chosen by the family when he became president. There is a direct link there with the president being involved in the project.”

Thouamma said the president should not be perceived as a victim.

“The head of the house always knows what is happening in his own backyard. I think the president knew what was happening there. Nkandla was a daylight robbery and the victims here are the taxpayers,” he said.

UDM MP, Nqabayomzi Kwankwa, said, “Looking at all the money and waste of state resources at Nkandla, we need to ask who should be held accountable of this? The buck stops with the president, he needs to account.

“To be honest, I feel embarrassed that that is where the president meets other heads of states, it makes us look like a banana republic.”

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