Nkandla architect gives the SIU a deadline

The SIU is suing Makhanya, claiming he's responsible for the overspending of govt money on Nkandla.

President Jacob Zuma's Nkandla home. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - Lawyers for Nkandla architect Minenhle Makhanya say they've given the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) until the close of business this afternoon to make the Department of Public Works a respondent in its case against him.

The SIU is suing Makhanya for R155 million, claiming he's responsible for the overspending of government money on Zuma's home.

The investigating unit has already said that R16 million was spent on landscaping at the property and that it is still not safe for the president.

Makhanya's attorney Barnabus Xulu says he believes this case can't continue unless the department is also made a defendant.

"Everything was managed and controlled by the department. As agents of the state, they engaged our client, so before you get to my client, you must start with public works."

Yesterday, court papers revealed details of rare plants costing millions of rands at Zuma's Nkandla home.

Endangered plants and fully grown trees were flown into the rural homestead in KwaZulu-Natal costing an estimated R16 million.

Makhanya is accused of engineering a virtual Garden of Eden.

This includes fully grown trees costing R7,000 and endangered cycads replete with tracking chips worth over R5,000 each.

In her report released in March, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela said Zuma and his family improperly benefited from the R246 million upgrades, which included a cattle enclosure and amphitheatre, and that he should pay back some of the costs of the unnecessary renovations.

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