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'Nkandla security upgrades not up to scratch’

The final SIU report was submitted by President Zuma to Parliament yesterday.

FILE: President Jacob Zuma's Nkandla homestead.

CAPE TOWN - The final Special Investigating Unit (SIU) report on Nkandla has suggested that the security requirements have not been met, despite millions of rands in taxpayers' money being spent on President Jacob Zuma's private residence.

The final SIU report was submitted by Zuma to Parliament yesterday.

Zuma issued a proclamation for the SIU to probe aspects of the security upgrades to his home in December last year.

The 245 page report drops a bombshell on its last page that suggests the security upgrades to Zuma's home do not meet the requirements.

The final report was completed last month, when the SIU launched a civil claim for damages to claw back R155 million from Zuma's architect, Minenhle Makhanya, who is defending the action.

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's Nkandla report also implicated Makhanya, saying he received R16,5 million from the controversial project.

The SIU report says a number of matters of concern were noted during an on-site inspection at Nkandla in July.

The inspection team measured what was done under the aegis of architect Minenhle Makhanya against what was needed as set out by security assessments.

It says that for security reasons these are not spelt out in the report, but will be submitted to the President separately.

In a clear indication that the upgrades were found wanting, the report says the police should carry out a further evaluation of security at Nkandla as soon as possible.

NKANDLA PROBE EXPLAINED

Sometimes referred to as a "palace" set amid scenes of abject poverty in rural KwaZulu-Natal, the President's expansive private homestead was built using mostly tax payers' money.

The security upgrade amounted to roughly R28 million in 2009 and by June 2010, the price tag had increased three fold, using funds redirected from other projects meant to benefit all of South Africa.

By 2011, the price tag increased to R203 million, sparking debate around why the money was not put into feeding schemes, RDP houses, hospitals and school revamps.

In 2012 Thuli Madonsela was called in to investigate.

Less than a month later, the President told Parliament the upgrade was all about the National Key Points Act. This act also governs the Waterkloof Airforce Base, where the Guptas landed their plane for a wedding party.

There was outrage last year, after Eyewitness News revealed the guests arrived for a wedding of a Gupta family member without going through Customs or immigration procedures.

Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi took six months to investigate Nkandla, where the total cost of security upgrades came to roughly R250 million in total.

In November 2013, Madonsela was taken to court by government to stop the release of her report. Two weeks later it changed its mind and agreed to pay Madonsela's fees for her report.

As the year drew to a close, Madonsela's provisional report was leaked to the media, which did not look good for Zuma.

The security cluster then countered with their report, at which point open accusations began to fly.

The R203 million of tax payers money also bought tarred roads, a clinic, a cattle kraal, and a swimming pool.