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Nkandla donations scam – Presidency warning

By Angelique Ruzicka

The Presidency issued a warning today about fraudsters asking people for money to support President Zuma in paying back over R7.8 million in non-security related upgrades. “The Presidency wishes to alert members of the public to beware of scams on social media where people are asked to deposit money into bank accounts in support of President Jacob Zuma. Such requests have fraudulently been made in light of the submission of the Nkandla homestead non-security upgrades report to the Constitutional Court by the National Treasury. No account has been opened for this purpose and no request has been made for members of the public to contribute,” said the Presidency in a statement.

Yesterday the National Treasury recommended that President Zuma must pay just over R7.8 million back for the non-security related upgrades to his Nkandla homestead. The calculations were based on five areas built at the President’s residence at Nkandla, namely, the visitors’ centre, amphitheatre, swimming pool, cattle kraal and chicken run.

Some are now labelling the calculations as a ‘thumb suck’ after Treasury admitted in its report that “no bill of quantities was provided to assist in the determination of the reasonable costs incurred in building the said facilities” and that “the electronic and hard copies of the design, construction and engineering drawings and the associated specifications and site layout relating to the five facilities did not include the final “as built” drawings”.

The amount (R7 814 155) must still be rubber stamped by the Constitutional Court now that it’s been submitted by National Treasury. If the ConCourt concurs, President Zuma will have 45 days in which to pay the money back.

The table below shows the revised cost estimates following the moderation processby Treasury:

* Inclusive of professional fees

Reaction to Treasury’s findings

The R7.8 million is less than 5% of the total amount that was spent on Nkandla and is nothing other than a symbolic rap over the knuckles to satisfy the public said Dr. Corné Mulder, chief whip of the FF Plus. Dr. Mulder added that that the amount is far less than the R10 million that president Zuma himself was apparently prepared to pay as settlement.

He called for a further investigation with independent experts: “The FF Plus is of the opinion that a quantity surveyor should do a thorough analyses of the project as the value of the existing security upgrade work could definitely not amount to close to R200 million and it is clear that millions of rand has disappeared through corruption. An expert must therefore conduct an investigation to realistically determine what the work was supposed to cost,” said Dr. Mulder.

Meanwhile the Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomed the fact that the President is now legally obliged to pay back a portion of the money spent at Nkandla and called on him to pay it without delay.

But Mmusi Maimane, leader of the DA, added: “We can not forget that more than R250 million of public money was wasted at Nkandla. This figure of R7.8 million amounts to just over 3% of the total spent. Zuma and his cronies still owe the South African people hundreds of millions of rands. While we eagerly await the Constitutional Court’s determination on the report sent by National Treasury, the DA will not relent in ensuring that all of those who were complicit in the Nkandla corruption are brought to book so that we can retrieve every cent unduly spent.”

The DA is set to pursue a civil claim against Minenhle Makhanya, the chief Nkandla architect, who the opposition party feels should pay back the more than R155 million used to inflate the cost of the security upgrades at Nkandla. The Special Investigating Unit’s (SIU) 2014 report found Makhanya to be responsible for this amount. 

“We are also of the opinion that there is a criminal case to be answered by President Zuma, as well as his cabinet ministers who were involved in this matter. I have already 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 fact is, the Public Protector found that President Zuma and his family improperly benefited from the measures implemented in the name of security which included non-security comforts such as the Visitors’ Centre, swimming pool, amphitheatre, cattle kraal with culvert and chicken run. A full bench of the highest court in the land affirmed this finding. 

“There can be no doubt that the President was not only aware of the upgrades to his residence, but that he actively encouraged them. The South African people were defrauded by President Zuma and all those implicated in the Nkandla saga, and it is now time he pays back all the money used to upgrade his personal mansion,” said Maimane.  

After receiving the report from Treasury the Presidency said: “The Presidency is studying the report and will comment on it thereafter.”

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