Note to Editors: The following statement was delivered by the Leader of the Opposition, Mmusi Maimane MP, during a media briefing in Johannesburg.
Exactly one year ago yesterday, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela determined that President Zuma had to repay a “reasonable percentage” of the undue benefits he received from the upgrades to his private residence at Nkandla, in consultation with the National Treasury and SAPS.
The President should have complied with these findings as a matter of urgency, but he undermined the authority of this Chapter 9 institution and dismissed the remedial actions taken by the Public Protector as mere suggestions. In his report to the Speaker of the National Assembly on 14 August 2014, the President instead deemed the Minister of Police to be the appropriate person to determine his liability in the wasteful expenditure that occurred in his back yard.
In the coming week, Minister of Police Nathi Nhleko, is reportedly going to tabling his findings before Parliament. In anticipation of this the Democratic Alliance (DA) would like to make it clear that the determination by the Minister cannot override the remedial actions of the Public Protector. This is not a question of “if” the President must pay back money, but of “how much.”
Based on her report, Secure in Comfort, the DA has calculated that the President is liable for at least an amount of R52.9 million for the non-security upgrades to his private residence (the full DA analysis is available here). This amount includes, inter alia:
- R7,983,735 for a visitors lounge
- R2,380,011 for a “fire pool” and parking
- R1,975,340 for a social node with a level terrace where a marquee can be erected
- R1,563,485 for the construction and rehabilitation of the President’s cattle kraal
- R530,950 for a “Retaining wall” or amphitheatre (various line items)
- R494,893 for a tuck-shop
- R30,000 for “mood lighting [that] will enhance the estate to Prestige Level”
In addition to this amount, the President further remains liable for the tax on the fringe benefit received from the upgrades.
It must be emphasised that while the DA believes the non-security upgrades amount to at least R52.9 million, the remainder of the R246 million spent at Nkandla does not constitute legitimate expenditure by any means. The DA remains firmly of the belief that the upgrades to Nkandla, and the 785% cost escalation of the project from an initial budget of R27.8 million, represents corruption and wasteful expenditure of the highest order.
An analysis of the budget and motivations behind Prestige Project A, shows that the mandate always went well beyond the need to meet minimum security requirements to protect the President.
Furthermore, when the office of the President changes hands, Nkandla will remain the property of Mr Zuma, for his personal and private benefit.
A project of this scale and scope could not have been undertaken without the knowledge of the President. The report by the Public Protector found that on 5 November 2010, the newly-appointed Minister of Public Works, Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde, sent President Zuma a detailed progress report on the project, and further found that the President frequently visited his homestead and complained about construction delays.
The Public Protector further found that the under the supervision of the Principal Agent, Mr Minenhle Makhanya, who was also the President’s personal architect, the project was subjected to “uncontrolled scope creep, cost escalation and poor performance by some of the contractors.”
There can be no doubt that the President was not only aware of the upgrades to his residence, but that he actively encouraged them. It is on this basis that I laid eight charges of corruption against President Zuma for his complicity in the misappropriation of public funds at Nkandla in terms of the Prevention and Combatting of Corrupt Activities Act 2004.
The project in its totality remains a massive waste of public funds with no discernible benefit to South Africans. When President Zuma is removed from office, the upgraded homestead will provide no benefit to the state or the public.
The President must accept responsibility for his complicity in this gross case of corruption and misappropriation of state funds, and repay the state with immediate effect.