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Govt's Nkandla report slammed

Opposition parties say govt’s Nkandla report is just a smokescreen to protect the president.

The Nkandla homestead. Picture: City Press.

CAPE TOWN - Opposition parties have criticised government's report on the Nkandla debacle.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has described the inter-ministerial task team's investigation as a 'spin' while newly formed party Agang South Africa and the Freedom Front Plus (FF+) say it's a smokescreen to protect President Jacob Zuma.

The report exonerates the president, instead blaming state officials for overspending on security upgrades to his private home.

The DA's Lindiwe Mazibuko says the spending is not justifiable.

"There's no amount of excuse about security upgrades that make it legitimate to build him a pool, a chicken run and a cattle covet, all of the things on which this money was spent."

Agang SA's Thabo Leshilo says, "For us it just confirms what was reported in the media about three weeks ago, about the ANC's strategy for deflecting responsibility and attention away from itself and Zuma."

Nxesi has defended the security upgrades as necessary for the safety of the president and his family.

Meanwhile, Zuma has already signed a proclamation which will allow the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to launch a probe into overspending and collusion by officials and contractors.

Nxesi says investigations will soon be underway.

"As the minister of Public Works, I have already written to the minister of police requesting that the South African Police Service (SAPS) investigate any possible criminal acts."

He has also acknowledged there were many irregularities in the appointment of people involved in the work on Zuma's home.

"There are many supply chain irregularities in relation to the appointment of the service providers and procurement of goods and services. For instance, large variation orders and high percentages spent point to the possibility of over pricing and collusion."

A 2008 Google Earth satellite image shows what Zuma's homestead looked like before any development at all.

A 2010 aerial view of Nkandla taken off Google Earth.

A 2010 aerial view of Nkandla taken off Google Earth.

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.

ANC DEFENDS NXESI

The African National Congress (ANC) says Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi is showing true leadership by taking full responsibility for the exorbitant spending at Zuma's KwaZulu-Natal homestead, although his predecessors may take the fall for the scandal.

ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe says Nxesi is doing the responsible thing.

"A bigger part of that upgrade happened when Nxesi was not a minister. But he can't stand up and blame his predecessors. He's taking responsibility for what happened in a department that he's now a minister of."

Mantashe says it's unreasonable to compare the amounts spent on upgrading the homes of former presidents Thabo Mbeki and Nelson Mandela to that of Zuma.

"There's inflation of prices and all those issues must be taken into account."

But Mantashe says the ruling party remains concerned about the amount of money spent on the upgrades at Nkandla.

The ANC has also given a stern warning to people not to jump to conclusions before Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has finalised her Nkandla investigation.

At the same time Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa says political heads of various departments tasked with the controversial security upgrades should take responsibility for the expenditure.

The minister addressed a group of ANC members in Midrand on Thursday night where some voiced their concern over the debacle.

Mthethwa maintains Zuma did not spend taxpayer's money upgrading his private home.

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