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DA seeks watchdog for Zuma's bunker

The DA wants a review of the ministerial handbook to be finalised before the end of 2012.

President Jacob Zuma's upgraded Nkandla homestead in KwaZulu-Natal, which allegedly cost more than R200 million to upgrade. Picture: City Press

JOHANNESBURG/CAPE TOWN - The Democratic Alliance (DA) said on Monday it has been left with little option but to try and amend certain laws in a bid to get to the bottom of the Nkandla debacle.

The party's parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko said she will attempt to have the National Key Points Amendment Act 44 of 1984 changed as she believes it is not transparent.

The piece of legislation has been cited as the reason why government can not divulge any details on the controversial upgrade to President Jacob Zuma's KwaZulu-Natal homestead.

Meanwhile, Mazibuko said her question on Nkandla will be asked in the National Assembly in due course.

"It's the presidency that will be responsible for providing us with an answer in the next fortnight. My request for a debate on Nkandla has been refused by the acting speaker, whom I believe is not doing her job as an independent judicator."

The party also wants a review of the ministerial handbook, which has been in the pipeline for the last three years, to be finalised before the end of 2012.

The handbook stipulates the amount ministers, judges and MPs are allowed to spend from the public purse.

An exposé on the upgrades to the private home of President Jacob Zuma in Nkandla has catapulted the ministerial handbook back into the spotlight.

As it stands, the handbook puts a limit on how much can be spent on security upgrades on the homes of ministers.

Mazibuko on Monday said, "the 'Annexure E' in the ministerial handbook allows the Minister of Public Works to approve a non-recoverable set contribution [of] up to R100,000 maximum, per executive."

Mazibuko said the DA wants a parliamentary portfolio committee set up to provide oversight over the Presidency.

EXPOSED

The exposé was exclusively reported by The City Press newspaper in which it revealed that taxpayers will pay for 95 percent of the renovations.

It said upgrades, which would amount to a total of R203 million, would include underground living quarters, a health facility for Zuma and his family, a helicopter pad, as well as playgrounds and a centre for visitors. yet more money was transferred to pay for the upgrade of the Nkandla compound.

A few weeks ago, more investigations by the paper revealed that the Department of Public Works also approved payments of millions of Rands to contractors.

The newspaper said it was in possession of internal documents which showed that 31 new buildings were constructed with one contractor charging the government R8 million per building.

The City Press's Adriaan Basson said the documents contain interesting details.

"The document shows that the final cost tax payers will pay has gone up to R248 million. The documents gave a clear break down as to what this money was spent on. This brings us closer to getting clarity as to what exactly government is paying for."