The architect allegedly in charge of inflating the Nkandla upgrade cost to in excess of R246 million, Minenhle Makhanya, has been singled out by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) as the primary reason for why the cost of the upgrades to President Jacob Zuma’s homestead in KwaZulu-Natal were so much higher than what was originally planned.
The SIU has filed a summons for Makhanya at the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg and allegedly hope to reclaim more than R155 million from the architect due to the fact that he supposedly is responsible for the exorbitant price of the security upgrades to the president’s home.
The South African Department of Public works is also listed as a defendant in the court case, due to the fact that they allegedly did not follow correct procedure when appointing Makhanya as the head architect of the project. The SIU has stated that the Department of Public Works did not follow the correct tender procedure when appointing Makhanya.
The report on Nkandla compiled by the SIU is expected to be made public early next week. Makhanya is just one of the names on the list of people who were involved in the project and are suspected of acting illegally and inflating the building costs, with the others yet to be named thus far. The many contractors who were all hired to work under Makhanya are supposedly the next to come under fire.
The initial contract to provide security upgrades to the president’s homestead were approved for a total of R27 million by the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) and it is Makhanya who is allegedly responsible for the gross inflation of this cost to a total of around R246 million.
The president is yet to respond to reports on the matter, one coming from Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela, who requested that the president repay a portion of the cost as she found that he and his family had, “Unduly benefited,” from the upgrades to his home. She gave the president two weeks to respond to the report, which was handed to him in July this year. The other is the SIU’s report, which has just been received by Jacob Zuma and will be made available to the public early next week.