Nkandla Saga: Junior Officers Take The Fall For The President


By Oliver Ngwenya    16-Sep-2014 18:35 UTC+02:00
Nkandla Homestead: President Zuma's Controversial Home. Image: My Broadband.

Nkandla Homestead: President Zuma’s Controversial Home. Image: My Broadband.

It emerged over the weekend that there were some members of the ruling party who were willing to go to any extent to defend their leader from the perceived attack by forces from outside the party. Nomvula Makonyane was very clear when she was addressing rope gathered to witness the launching of a water project in Mpumalanga. Makonyane is reported to have said that they were willing to use buttocks to defend Jacob Zuma.

It appears though that as in many cases that involve the president, there are some people that have already paid while there are others who are still in the process of making this sacrifice. After the investigation of the Special Investigation Unit set up by an inter ministerial committee to authenticate the Public Protector’s report. In their investigations, it was revealed that at least three former director generals were likely to lose their jobs and would most likely be charged with criminal intent in connection with their roles in the Nkandla debacle.

After the investigation of the Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela, it was revealed that Jacob Zuma and his family benefitted unduly from the security upgrades to his Nkandla home. Madonsela went on to recommend that Zuma repay a portion of this amount. The Director Generals, Solomon Malebye, Sam Vukela and Siviwe Dongwana are facing financial misconduct charges emanating from their role in the Nkandla project in keeping with the Public Finance Management Act. They may also face criminal charges. In addition, some ten to twelve junior officers in their departments, will also most likely be charged. An interesting dimension to the charges that these officials are facing is the result of the forensic investigation by the Special Investigation Unit, which revealed that the officials did not seem to have benefitted financially from the project, which raised the question of why they participated in the project. The SIU suggests some of the officers were not aware of the legal implications of their actions while others did not have the moral courage to do the right thing.

However, a big point into this whole debacle is the presence of the big elephant in the room which is political interference. Many of the officials have pointed to the fact that they were influenced by several politicians in their decisions. The most mentioned names are those of the former Minister of Public Works, Geoff Doidge and his former deputy minister Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu as well as the president himself, Jacob Zuma. All have vehemently denied these accusations. The President has said that if the officers felt that a lot of inappropriate pressure was being brought onto them, they should have reported to various institutions which are set up to deal with such issues.


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  1. Tomorrowbetter says:

    Useless BBE appointees – at the budgeted 27 million it was too much money

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