Pub­lic to pick up the tab for main­te­nance of Nkandla

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - CRAIG DODDS

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.

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