Minenhle Makhanya will de­fend claim he was paid for un­nec­es­sary work at Nkandla

CityPress - - Front Page - PADDY HARPER and CAI­PHUS KGOSANA paddy.harper@city­press.co.za cai­phus.kgosana@city­press.co.za

Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma’s ar­chi­tect is fight­ing back. To­mor­row, Minenhle Makhanya – who is be­ing sued by the Spe­cial In­ves­ti­gat­ing Unit (SIU) for R155 mil­lion he was al­legedly paid for un­nec­es­sary work, or work that sim­ply wasn’t done – will serve no­tice in the Pi­eter­mar­itzburg High Court of his in­ten­tion to de­fend the claim.

Makhanya, who this week went to ground af­ter the SIU filed its court pa­pers on Tues­day, has hired a high­pow­ered le­gal team to de­fend him.

His lawyer, Friends of Ja­cob Zuma Trust founder and prom­i­nent ANC lawyer, Barn­abas Xulu, con­firmed his client would “most def­i­nitely” be re­spond­ing to the SIU’s claim.

Xulu, a part­ner in the le­gal firm of Paul Ngob­eni – who was tasked by the ANC to craft Zuma’s es­cape from cor­rup­tion charges in 2009. Xulu counts Western Cape Judge Pres­i­dent John Hlophe and SABC’s chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer Hlaudi Mot­soe­neng as clients.

“We con­firm that we act on be­half of Mr Minenhle Makhanya. We have in­struc­tions to de­fend the mat­ter. We will file no­tice of in­ten­tion to de­fend on Mon­day,” Xulu told City Press.

Xulu de­clined to com­ment fur­ther, say­ing he still had to con­sult with his client in de­tail ahead of brief­ing coun­sel this week. But he did say Makhanya in­di­cated he “will not be pay­ing [back] any money”.

In one of the claims out­lined in court pa­pers, se­nior foren­sic lawyer for the SIU in KwaZulu-Natal Ashish Go­sai said Makhanya should be forced to re­pay the R54.8 mil­lion he paid to Pamela Mfeka of Moneymine In­vest­ments and Than­deka Nene of Bone­lena Con­struc­tion En­ter­prise and Projects – the two con­trac­tors re­spon­si­ble for the con­struc­tion side of the project.

But Nene re­fused to dis­cuss the SIU claim, say­ing it had noth­ing to do with her or her com­pany.

“I don’t know why you’re talk­ing to me,” she told City Press yes­ter­day. “Ask the ar­chi­tect, he is the one with an is­sue here, not me. I have noth­ing to say about this. There were more than 20 con­trac­tors on site, so why are you talk­ing to me?”

She re­fused to com­ment and cut the call when asked whether she would re­pay any money she was wrong­fully paid by the pub­lic works de­part­ment.

Xulu said that af­ter to­mor­row’s no­tice, Makhanya had another 20 days to file de­tails of his op­po­si­tion to the SIU’s claim.

Mean­while, Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor Thuli Madon­sela is pre­par­ing to take the pres­i­dent on due to her dis­sat­is­fac­tion with his re­sponse to her re­port on the up­grad­ing of his Nkandla es­tate.

Yes­ter­day, Madon­sela was adamant Zuma had not re­sponded to her own re­port in his 20-page re­port to the Speaker of Par­lia­ment on the se­cu­rity up­grades to his home in Nkandla, which was re­leased on Thurs­day.

Madon­sela said: “That doc­u­ment does not re­spond to my re­port at all, it does men­tion my re­port, but it doesn’t re­spond to it. It men­tions the var­i­ous in­ves­ti­ga­tions that have taken place but doesn’t com­ment on my in­ves­ti­ga­tion at all.”

The pres­i­dency said the re­port con­sti­tuted Zuma’s re­sponse not only to Madon­sela’s re­port, but to oth­ers on the R246 mil­lion se­cu­rity up­grades at Nkandla, in­clud­ing those of the SIU and the joint stand­ing com­mit­tee on in­tel­li­gence.

Madon­sela said she would write to the pres­i­dent’s of­fice to re­mind him that the law stip­u­lates he pro­vide her with a thor­ough re­sponse.

“I will in­di­cate to the pres­i­dent di­rectly what is out­stand­ing in terms of the law.

“Ev­ery is­sue that has been can­vassed with the pres­i­dent has to be re­solved,” she said.

But the pres­i­dency in­sisted in a state­ment yes­ter­day af­ter­noon that Zuma had re­sponded to all re­ports – in­clud­ing Madon­sela’s, which rec­om­mends that he pay for all non-se­cu­rity re­lated up­grades to his home, in­clud­ing the “swim­ming/fire” pool, chicken run, am­phithe­atre and cat­tle kraal.

But in his re­sponse, Zuma left it to new Po­lice Min­is­ter Nathi Nh­leko to de­ter­mine whether he is li­able and should re­pay any money spent on up­grad­ing his home.

Also un­happy is for­mer deputy pub­lic works min­is­ter Hen­dri­etta Bo­gopane-Zulu, whose name fea­tures in Zuma’s re­sponse, which was not shared with her be­fore its re­lease. Bo­gopane-Zulu told City Press yes­ter­day she will ask the pres­i­dent’s of­fice for a copy of the re­port.

“They have not shared it with us. If there’s a men­tion of me, prin­ci­ple says the pres­i­dency has to share it with us be­fore they share it with the me­dia.

“I find it dis­turb­ing that the pres­i­dent’s re­sponse, when my name is men­tioned, is shared with the me­dia be­fore it is shared with us,” she said.

In his re­sponse, Zuma quotes from a progress re­port on the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the up­grades by the SIU, which found that “there may have been un­due in­ter­fer­ence” by Bo­gopane-Zulu and for­mer pub­lic works min­is­ter Ge­off Doidge “in the ap­point­ment of cer­tain con­trac­tors, sup­pli­ers or ser­vice providers”.

The same find­ing was made by the in­ter­min­is­te­rial task team that in­ves­ti­gated the Nkandla spend­ing.

Bo­gopane-Zulu also took is­sue with that re­port, say­ing her min­is­te­rial col­leagues had not in­ter­viewed her be­fore reach­ing that con­clu­sion.

Madon­sela found al­le­ga­tions that Bo­gopane-Zulu or Doidge might have in­ter­fered in the ap­point­ment of con­trac­tors at Nkandla could not be sub­stan­ti­ated.

Bo­gopane-Zulu said she co­op­er­ated fully with the SIU and they could have at least shared their progress re­port with her be­fore some of its rec­om­men­da­tions were made pub­lic.

“I can’t re­spond to a doc­u­ment I have not seen ... I am ir­ri­tated be­cause they did not share it with me,” she said.

Doidge could not be reached for com­ment.

Makhanya, mean­while, has taken refuge at his pig farm in Rich­mond, KwaZulu-Natal, and re­fused to talk to City Press.

“No com­ment,” he said, and cut the call.

PLEAD­ING IN­NO­CENCE Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma


Thuli Madon­sela

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