Conflicting Nkandla reports

It is not clear whether Madonsela and the security cluster can resolve their differences.

Public Works Minister Thulasi Nxesi. Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN - Government's findings on Nkandla is in direct contrast to those contained in a leaked draft of Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's report.

The Nkandla homestead. Picture: City Press.

The protector's interim report, with the working title "Opulence on a grand scale", was published in the _Mail & Guardian _in November.

The provisional document found that President Jacob Zuma received "substantial personal benefit" from upgrades which exceeded his security requirements.

It calls for the president to pay back some of the R208 million spent on upgrades to Zuma's private home in rural KwaZulu-Natal.

The draft document also called on him to account to Parliament.

Madonsela's report raised serious questions about the architect, who was in constant contact with the president during renovations.

The latest aerial view of Nkandla taken in August 2013 which was taken by an aerial mapping company using a hi-tech, high-altitude mapping aircraft.

According to a government report on the issue released on Thursday, Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi says there's no truth to allegations that Zuma abused state resources.

The report, which was compiled a year ago, did find there was overcharging and collusion between companies involved in the upgrades.

Furthermore, the document claims Zuma did not ask for the upgrades and had no idea how much they cost.

The minister says the Auditor General's office and the Special Investigating Unit will now carry out forensic probes into tender and contract irregularities.

Nxesi said a swimming pool was installed because of the fire hazard posed by the thatch-roofed buildings.

Government justified the spending as necessary because Zuma is the head of state and needs protection.

It says Nkandla lacks basic services because it is in a rural area.

It is not clear whether Madonsela and the security cluster can resolve their differences over national security concerns in time for the release of the public protector's report in January.

At the same time, ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe says calls for Zuma to resign because of the debacle is premature, dangerous and unfair.

He says people must wait for Madonsela to release her findings.

Madonsela says such a move would have to be based on facts.

PHIYEGA DEFENDS ZUMA

National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega says none of the security features installed at Zuma's property were unjustified.

The police and defence force were responsible for determining Zuma's security needs after he became president in 2009.

Phiyega says families had to be relocated for security reasons.

"The relocation of families has already been explained. It was important for us to get them out of the high security area because of the fence and all the other issues we've mentioned."