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Nkandla: Overpricing and collusion

Thulas Nxesi says various bodies will conduct forensic probes into tender and contract irregularities.

A 2010 aerial view of Nkandla. Picture: Google Earth.

CAPE TOWN - Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi on Thursday said there was overcharging and collusion between companies involved in the upgrades to President Jacob Zuma's Nkandla homestead in KwaZulu-Natal.

But he says there's no truth to allegations that Zuma abused state resources.

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 made the comments in Pretoria during the release of government's own investigation into the upgrades.

He maintains Zuma is not guilty of abusing public funds in upgrading his private home.

"As it will be shown in the findings of the report, no state funds were used to upgrade the president's private residence."

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

It said Nkandla lacked basic services because it was in a rural area.

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

"In order to eliminate the potential risk due to water supply [constraints], the so-called swimming pool was decided on as the most viable option."

Around R71 million was spent on installing electricity, water and sanitation.

Housing for police officers cost R135 million.

ANC REACTION

The ruling party has welcomed the release of the government's Nkandla report.

It called for those found guilty of misusing state funds to be blacklisted.

The ANC says it is now waiting for Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's report in order to compare the two documents.

Her office is expected to release its final report in January.

ANC general secretary Gwede Mantahse says companies and individuals, irrespective of who they are, must be punished if found guilty.

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