SIU GUNS FOR ZUMA’S AR­CHI­TECT

CityPress - - News -

The Spe­cial In­ves­ti­gat­ing Unit (SIU) on Mon­day served Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma’s ar­chi­tect, Mi­nenhle Makhanya

with court pa­pers that com­pel him to dis­close what ev­i­dence he will be tabling be­fore court in an up­com­ing law­suit.

The unit is su­ing the ar­chi­tect for R155 mil­lion re­lated to the R245 mil­lion in state money spent on se­cu­rity up­grades at Zuma’s pri­vate res­i­dence in Nkandla. Makhanya has 15 days to re­spond.

Zuma was last year ordered to pay back R7.8 mil­lion for ren­o­va­tions to his home that were not re­lated to se­cu­rity. The con­tro­ver­sial project brought the scourge of pro­cure­ment cor­rup­tion in gov­ern­ment to the fore.

Makhanya missed a De­cem­ber dead­line to file a dis­cov­ery af­fi­davit af­ter the SIU filed its own. The ser­vice of dis­cov­ery af­fi­davit is in­tended to en­sure that no party is “am­bushed” when the case comes be­fore a judge, said Ad­vo­cate Andy Moth­ibi, the head of the SIU.

“We had filed our dis­cov­ery af­fi­davit and called on him to do the same, but he failed to do so. We then served pa­pers com­pelling him to pro­vide a re­sponse. The mat­ter is still in the early stages.”

Moth­ibi said Makhanya “failed to tell us what he is go­ing to dis­close and now we are forc­ing him to”.

It is quite a long process, but it is a com­mon one, he said.

Once the pre­lim­i­nary process is

(pic­tured),

just rub­ber-stamp our re­quests, but ap­ply his mind. In that way, we can­not pin him down to a spe­cific time­line be­cause, es­sen­tially, he must be seen to have ap­plied his mind.”

Moth­ibi said there were staff mem­bers who were “un­set­tled” about the de­vel­op­ments, “so we have ex­pe­ri­enced a bit of push­back, but we are man­ag­ing that. It is un­for­tu­nate that some em­ploy­ees who have is­sues go to the me­dia.”

When asked about a re­cent re­port that the unit had con­cluded, the mat­ter will most likely be set down for trial.

Moth­ibi said the re­open­ing of a spe­cial tri­bunal to fast­track lit­i­ga­tion in cases such as Makhanya’s was “at an ad­vanced stage” as the jus­tice de­part­ment was al­ready look­ing into ap­point­ing a tri­bunal pres­i­dent, who would then ap­point judges and ad­min­is­tra­tive staff.

The court pro­vided for in the Spe­cial In­ves­ti­gat­ing Units and Spe­cial Tri­bunals Act had been es­tab­lished, but some­how stopped func­tion­ing, he said.

“It is meant to en­able the SIU’s cases to be put through the tri­bunal so that the lit­i­ga­tion can be fast­tracked,” he said.

“It will be based in East Lon­don, where there is al­ready in­fra­struc­ture.”

Makhanya’s lawyer, Barn­abas Xulu, said his client missed the De­cem­ber dead­line be­cause of the sheer vol­ume of pa­pers filed by the SIU. He said they in­tended to file be­fore the new dead­line.

He added that go­ing through the boxes of doc­u­ments from the SIU was also “ex­pen­sive”, which was dif­fi­cult for Makhanya “in cir­cum­stances where his fi­nances were se­verely strained as he is no longer able to get busi­ness”.

Xulu also hinted that his client could go pub­lic with in­for­ma­tion in his pos­ses­sion as the is­sue of con­fi­den­tial­ity that re­stricted him in the past now ap­peared to be re­solved.

– Setumo Stone

spent thou­sands on an “in­ti­macy work­shop” in which its fe­male em­ploy­ees were given sex toys as gifts, he said the items from the ser­vice provider in­cluded things such as mas­sage oil and body lo­tions, not sex toys.

“But for fu­ture work­shops, our hu­man re­sources team must en­sure that they know what value adds the ser­vice provider will bring,” he said.

Moth­ibi said the unit’s new strat­egy would be sub­mit­ted to the jus­tice de­part­ment at the end of next month, to­gether with the re­vised an­nual per­for­mance plan.

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