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The Nkandla 'hit list'

2014-08-15 09:40

Jonathan Erasmus, The Witness

Durban - President Jacob Zuma on Thursday lifted the lid on a secret Special Investigating Unit report into the Nkandla scandal - hinting at who will take the fall.

In his 20-page response to Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's scathing dossier released earlier this year, titled Secure in Comfort, Zuma alluded to a widespread crackdown on government employees and private individuals involved in the R246m Nkandla private residence splurge.

Among the key allegations likely to surface and which differ considerably from Madonsela’s report is that former public works minister Geoff Doidge and his then deputy Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu may have exerted “undue interference... in the appointment of certain contractors, suppliers or service providers”.

The protector’s report, however, differed significantly, claiming Doidge and Bogopane-Zulu did not exert any pressure at all.

Civil claims

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) inquiry has been ongoing since December 2013.

“[The SIU is] briefing counsel to settle papers to bring civil claims against certain contractors, suppliers or service providers,” Zuma said in his response handed to speaker of the National Assembly Baleka Mbete.

And already this week the first victim of the investigation - Pinetown architect Minenhle Makhanya - was served with papers and is to be sued by the state for a whopping R155.3m.

In Zuma’s statement, he said the SIU is “finalising disciplinary dockets” against 19 employees in the department of public works and is “preparing criminal dockets”.

Other findings likely to emerge from the report is that several contractors appeared to have submitted fraudulent Tax Clearance Certificates (TCCs) and some construction firms on site weren’t qualified for the type of work undertaken.

Overcharging

“There was overcharging by at least some of the consultants. It would appear that although they were entitled to charge 18.5% of the total value of the contract, they charged 25% of the contract value,” said Zuma.

It appears there will also be several similarities between the SIU and joint standing committee on intelligence (JSCI) report on Nkandlagate released in December. Among them is that several contractors “had not been vetted by the State Security Agency [SSA]”.

At the time, The Witness interviewed a contractor Elliot Magubane, responsible for implementing the security networks, who said it would have been impossible to enter Zuma’s private residence without clearance. This year he worked inside the Union Buildings.

“You can’t just walk into the president’s home. They didn’t discuss whether I had clearance, but I assumed they did it as part of the internal process.”

- Full Nkandla Security Upgrade report.

The Witness

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