Public to pick up the tab for maintenance of Nkandla
WHATEVER the final bill for construction work at President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla home ends up to be – it already stands at R206 million – the public will also end up paying for maintenance and running costs for the facilities on state land.
The government is already footing the electricity bill, but it is unclear whether this is for the entire property, or for security features and accommodation of security-related staff only.
Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi said in a written reply to a parliamentary question yesterday that a maintenance plan for the state property was being drawn up, and would take effect next year.
He had been asked by the DA’s Herman Groenewald to list the current and expected running costs of the property, and said his department had, to date, incurred no running costs except for electricity.
A report by Parliament’s joint standing committee on intelligence on the Nkandla debacle emphasised that the bulk of the construction expenses were incurred in relation to state-owned land.
It said there were two properties – the private property of the president and state land, where facilities that could not fit on Zuma’s land were built. Of the R206m total spent on beefing up security at Nkandla, 24 percent went to the private residence portion and 52 percent went to the “government hub” section for infrastructural costs. The remaining 24 percent was for consultancy fees, according to the committee report.
Nxesi’s spokesman, Sabelo Mali, was in the Eastern Cape yesterday, where the department was involved in preparations for Nelson Mandela’s funeral, and referred queries to the director-general’s office.
No one was, however, available there to clarify whether the electricity costs were for the entire property, or the state facilities only.
Nxesi classified an internal task team report used by the committee in its investigation, saying at the time it was insensitive to ask for details of the work done at Nkandla.
But, after the Mail & Guardian published details from what it said was a leaked version of the public protector’s provisional report on Nkandla, the cabinet said the Public Works document, stripped of security information, would be released this week.
Mandela’s death resulted in the release being postponed.
Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has said she expects to make her own report public next month.