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Presidency: Zuma to study Nkandla report

The public protector on Wednesday released her findings into the controversial upgrades.

President Jacob Zuma. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG - President Jacob Zuma will study Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's Nkandla report and will respond in due course, the Presidency said on Wednesday.

The findings of a two-year investigation into how an estimated R250 million was spent on the president's private KwaZulu-Natal homestead were released in Pretoria on Wednesday afternoon.

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela releases the findings about Nkandla during a press conference in Pretoria on 19 March 2014. Picture: Sebabatso Mosamo/EWN.

The protector's report lifts the lid on what she describes as a "dismal failure" by government to stop expenses from ballooning from the initial amount of R27 million.

It finds that Zuma and his family benefited from the upgrades because the value of their property soared.

Presidency spokesperson Mac Maharaj says the president will examine the document.

"The public protector's report will be an additional tool which will fall under the consideration of President Zuma in addressing allegations of maladministration."

Meanwhile, Cabinet says it is already implementing action on corruption and maladministration linked to the upgrades.

Justice Minister Jeff Radebe welcomed the release of Madonsela's report and said it confirmed the essential findings of government's own internal investigation.

He was flanked by Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi , Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa and Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.

"Government reiterates its position that all measures that were recommended by the security cluster and implemented by the Department of Public Works in the president's private residence were security upgrades that were necessary."

Radebe says government's own investigation also unearthed corruption and maladministration.

He says officials are already acting on this.

The minister says Madonsela's report shows there was no political interference in the execution of the project or on her investigation.

He says items identified as non-security matters by Madonsela, including the cattle kraal and swimming pool, were essential security measures.

Meanwhile, the ANC has postponed its briefing on the report, saying it wants to give government an opportunity to first respond to the findings.

ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu says the report speaks mostly on government-related issues.

"We need to consider the report seriously so we are able to respond appropriately."

Mthembu says the party will respond at 10am on Thursday.

DA CALLS FOR IMPEACHMENT OF ZUMA

The Democratic Alliance (DA) intends to initiate a call to impeach Zuma based on the contents of the Nkandla report.

The opposition says the findings are damning and Zuma must be held accountable.

The DA now intends to take action by submitting a formal request to the Speaker of Parliament to institute proceedings against the president.

DA Parliamentary Leader Lindiwe Mazibuko believes impeachment is appropriate in this situation.

"All of it points to a president who used public money to enrich himself and his property to the tune of hundreds of millions of rand."

She added today marks a historic moment in the fight against corruption.

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

A 2010 aerial view of Nkandla taken off Google Earth.

'REPORT NOT POLITICAL'

Madonsela denied that her report is political and has anything to do with the upcoming elections.

The ANC tried to paint the report as a political one, but the public protector says she doesn't make the rules but only enforces them.

Madonsela blamed government for the timing of the release of the report, saying it took her nine months to get a response from the Presidency.

The security cluster also took her to court over safety concerns.

The protector slammed Zuma for "benefiting improperly" from the Nkandla upgrades, misleading Parliament by mistake, contravening parts of an ethics code and not asking enough questions about the construction at his home.

Spending on previous SA presidents as per Thuli Madonsela's Nkandla report.

Madonsela's report also called on Zuma to account to Parliament within two weeks and to discipline some of his ministers.

The president was ordered to pay back some of the money spent at his residence.

"A reasonable part of the expenditure towards the installations that wasn't identified as security measures in the list compiled by security experts should be borne by him and his family."

She also believes the upgrades went well beyond security requirements and many features like the swimming pool and the visitor centre should never have been built.

Zuma also stands accused of failing to protect public money.

The report also implicated Zuma's architect, Minenhle Makhanya, saying he received R16,5 million from the controversial project.

The protector said Makhanya was de facto project manager for the entire project and was the tail that wagged the government dog.

She said low-level officials may have been intimidated by the architect who had a direct line to Zuma.

Adverse findings were also made against Mthethwa, the Department of Defence and the Public Works Department and words like "excessive, unlawful and improper" were included in the report.

Click here to view the full Nkandla report.

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