14 August 2014

South Africa: Zuma Responds to Nkandla Upgrades

Photo: GovernmentZA
President Jacob Zuma delivers the State of the Nation Address (file photo).

Johannesburg — President Jacob Zuma presented his response to the security upgrades at his private Nkandla homestead to Parliament on Thursday, the Presidency said.

"The report has been prepared with due consideration of the following reports -- the report of the joint standing committee on intelligence (JSCI), the report of the public protector titled "Secure in Comfort", and the progress report in terms of the Investigating Units and Special Tribunals Act submitted by the head of the SIU," spokesman Mac Maharaj said in a statement.

The report was submitted to the speaker of the National Assembly, Maharaj said.

Zuma had undertaken to give Speaker Baleka Mbete a comprehensive report on the outcome of three separate investigations into state spending of some R246 million on his Nkandla home in KwaZulu-Natal.

Public spending on security upgrades at Nkandla turned into one of the major controversies of the Zuma presidency as costs escalated and it emerged that the project included a swimming pool, an amphitheatre, and chicken run.

Zuma declined to respond to Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's report in full within the required fortnight and said instead he would wait for the Special Investigating Unit findings.

On July 5, the African National Congress chief whip's office said Zuma had received the provisional SIU report and would provide Mbete with a final and comprehensive response within 30 days.

Zuma signed a proclamation on December 18 giving the SIU the go-ahead to investigate "intentional or negligent loss of public money" at Nkandla.

In a report released in March, Madonsela found Zuma and his family had unduly benefited from the R246 million spent on the security upgrades.

The SIU said its report on the Nkandla spending would be made available next week.

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