The much awaited report on the upgrades to President Zuma’s Nkandla residence which was compiled by the Public Protector was finally presented this afternoon in Gauteng. The Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela presented her report which she emphasized had nothing political about it in apparent response to the recent comments by some ANC bigwigs that her report had turned political and would be treated as such.
In her report, Thuli Madonsela revealed that her findings show that the conduct of the relevant authorities which include some organs of the state failed dismally to follow the appropriate supply chain management policies that would guide how resources were procured, managed and put to appropriate use. This means that whatever resources that were obtained by those in charge were not procured in the appropriate manner and as a result there is no guarantee that the right quantities were obtained and used in the right manner. This apparently permeated to the engagement of service providers. A good example is the Principal Agent who was appointed without the requisite qualifications. This, obviously went a long way in contributing to the mismanagement of resources and finances.
The Public Protector felt that the assertion that the upgrades to the President’s homestead were meant to improve security was not entirely true as there were a number of improvements that had nothing to do with security. These include the swimming pool, the fowl run, the cattle kraal as well as the amphi-theatre. Thuli Madonsela felt that, in some instances, these additions were not only inappropriate, but also completely unlawful. As far as expenditure on the presidential property was concerned, Ms Madonsela felt that ‘expenditure (on Nkandla) was unconscionable, excessive and caused misappropriation of public funds’. She further contends that President Zuma and his family improperly benefitted from the so called security upgrade to their homestead which is reported to have started humble but escalated to more than 200% of its original value.
It was, however, not all doom and gloom for the Zuma dynasty. Thuli Madonsela also revealed that she could not find evidence that Jacob Zuma’s brothers had directly benefitted from these upgrades. In addition, the PP also revealed that as far as her findings were concerned, the President did not deliberately mislead Parliament when he addressed them saying that his family had paid for the upgrades. He apparently knew that to be the truth and had not been advised to the contrary. In reaction to the report, the presidential spokesman, Maharaj stated that the President would study the report before he retorted.