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Nxesi mum on Nkandla upgrade costs

Minister Thulas Nxesi cited security and confidentiality as the reason for not disclosing the details.

The upgraded Nkandla homestead in KwaZulu-Natal, which allegedly cost more than R200 million to upgrade. Picture: City Press

PRETORIA - The Department of Public Works on Friday refused to discuss the cost of upgrades to President Jacob Zuma's private residence in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal.

Speaking in Pretoria on Friday, Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi cited security and confidentiality as the reason for not disclosing the details of the upgrade.

Recent media reports suggest government spent as much as R203 million of taxpayers' money to upgrade Zuma's private residence.

According to the ministerial handbook, only R100,000 of an upgrade to a personal residence may be funded by the state, legal experts say.

Nxesi said a security assessment of Nkandla was conducted.

"As part of meeting international standards for security of dignitaries, plans were drawn up and implemented. During this process, new capacity was requested for Nkandla."

The minister said various parts of Zuma's residence received upgrades.

Nxesi said Nkandla is a national key point.