Nkandla Report: How your money was misspent
President Jacob Zuma and his family have benefited from upgrades to the Nkandla homestead according to the Public Protector report released yesterday (19 March 2014), found Angelique Ruzicka.
Public Protector Thuli Madonsela found that President Jacob Zuma and his family have benefited “unduly” from the non-security related upgrades to the Nkandla homestead. Her damning and long awaited report was released yesterday, six weeks ahead of the national elections.
“His failure to act in protection of state resources constitutes a violation of paragraph two of the Executive Ethics Code and accordingly, amounts to conduct that is inconsistent with his office as a member of Cabinet, as contemplated by section 96 of the Constitution,” Madonsela states in her report. She recommended that the President pays back the public for some of the unnecessary renovations.
Reaction to the report:
The Democratic Alliance called for the President to be impeached following the release of the report. They, as well as the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), are set to lay criminal charges against President Zuma. “Impeachment is the correct course of action for this flagrant abuse of public money. It should be noted that an impeachment process is without precedent in democratic South Africa. It refers to the power the National Assembly holds, in terms of section 89 of the Constitution, to remove a President from office if he has acted in “serious violation of the Constitution or law”, or is believed to have committed “serious misconduct”.
“An impeachment is more serious than a motion of no confidence because if the President is removed from office he will lose benefits of office and be unable to hold any public office again. It is a fitting sanction for a President who abuses his office for personal gain.
Given these damning findings, and the seriousness of this matter, Parliament must immediately begin considering my motion,” said Lindiwe Mazibuko, Parliamentary Leader of the Democratic Alliance.
Julius Malema who leads the EFF will be laying charges at Sunnyside Police Station today (20 March), while the DA will lay charges at Nkandla’s police station.
Meanwhile, President of Agang SA Dr Mamphela Ramphele, also called for the President to go, adding: “Thuli Madonsela’s office should be commended for fearlessly making its findings known, for resisting political pressure and attempts to sabotage her work; but also for shining a light on the callous treatment of residents of Nkandla, many of whom were simply moved at great expense to the taxpayer from their land to make way for President Zuma’s ‘township.’”
“Ït is frankly mind boggling how a project that was initially to have cost a little more than R20 million to meet the requirements of security personnel tasked with Zuma’s safety, should end up at over R200 million and could be as high as R246 million when complete. And then to believe that the various Ministers and the President himself chose to take no appropriate action beggars belief,” she says.
Ramphele pointed out that the mismanagement of the Nkandla upgrade was not the government’s only corrupt act. “The Auditor-General recently reported that more than R30 billion from the state’s coffers cannot be accounted for, leaving hospitals dysfunctional, schools unfixed, and children unprotected by a police service that at times seems uninterested in anything but exercising brutality against citizens,” she says.
When the story first broke it was estimated that the upgrade had cost in the region of R65 million, but this has since ballooned to a whopping R246 million. Madonsela pointed out: “At the time the remark of the Director: Architectural Services of the Department of Public Works (DPW) was made, the cost estimation for the project was R145 million. By the time I concluded this investigation R215 million had been spent while the total cost to conclude the project was conservatively estimated at R246 million.”
Madonsela was scathing in her attack on the wasteful expenditure and lack of accountability, calling it ‘ obscenely excessive’ and ‘unconscionable’. She accused state organs of failing dismally and the security cluster of ‘shenanigans’.
Madonsela revealed that a memorandum that stated the scope of works was divided as follows: Public (State) portion: R203 079 677.18 and Private (Owner) portion R10 651 580.64.
Included in the costs (see below) was a cattle culvert at R1,2 million; over R1.7 million on a refuse area; over R5 million spent on a helipads and surrounding landscaping; an estimated total of R9 million on roads surrounding the Nkandla homestead and just over R500,000 spent on the tuck shop.