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Nkandla architect won't be the 'scapegoat'

Minenhle Makhanya’s lawyer says he is struggling to get his hands on security measurement documents.

President Jacob Zuma's Nkandla homestead

CAPE TOWN - The lawyer representing the architect embroiled in the Nkandla spending saga has reiterated he will fight to ensure his client does not become the scapegoat in the matter.

The Special Investigating Unit's (SIU) probe into the issue has placed the blame on Minenhle Makhanya for the soaring costs of the contentious upgrades to President Jacob Zuma's private home.

His lawyer Barnabas Xulu states there are certain documents which he is struggling to obtain.

"It's the original security measurement which was done by the South African Defence Force and the South African Police Service; it also includes the cost analysis. We have never been furnished with those documents because we were told it's classified."

DOCUMENTS PENDING

Two weeks ago the SIU confirmed that it had replied in full to a request from Makhanya for all the documents relating to how money was spent on Zuma's home.

The SIU is suing Makhanya for R155 million, saying he must pay for the overspending on Nkandla.

He then demanded 40 documents he said were needed to mount his defence.

The investigating unit has now filed 23 documents in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court and says the remainder are either already in Makhanya's possession or irrelevant to his case.

Xulu had said it would be impossible for the case to continue without the papers as they explained where the money was spent.

They say that Makhanya is not responsible for the overspending and is prepared to state under oath who made the final decisions on Nkandla.

But the SIU says Makhanya authorised installations that were outside the scope of the security measures recommended by the police and the defence force.

The Nkandla upgrades came under heavy criticism in a report by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela in March.

Madonsela's report said Zuma had "benefited unduly" from some of the upgrades, which included a cattle enclosure and amphitheatre, and should pay back some of the costs of the unnecessary renovations.

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

The protector said Makhanya was de facto project manager for the entire upgrade 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.