Nhleko insists Zuma owes nothing for Nkandla

Nathi Nhleko dismissed the claim that taxpayers forked out nearly R250mn for the Nkandla upgrades.

FILE: Police Minister Nathi Nhleko. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG - Police Minister Nathi Nhleko has dismissed the claim that taxpayers forked out nearly R250 million for upgrades at President Jacob Zuma's private homestead in Nkandla, saying only R50 million was spent.

The minister provided details of his Nkandla report in Pretoria, where he gave a breakdown of specific spending on Zuma's home.

Nhleko said the total build cost was about R200 million, of which R135 million was used to construct facilities for the police service and defence force.

"The cost for the security features amounted to R71 million, but on top of the installation something like R20,6 million was paid towards consultants and professionals of various things."

He was adamant that the president was not liable to pay for any of the features built at his home, including the swimming pool and amphitheatre.

"In all of the work done we could not come across any evidence or record where either the president or a member of his family requested things to be constructed like security features."

In March 2013, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela released her Nkandla report and found that Zuma and his family unduly benefitted from the upgrades.

Madonsela recommended that the president pay back some of the money.

NHLEKO DENIES HIS REPORT AMOUNTS TO MADONSELA'S

Nheko has denied suggestions that his investigation into the spending at Zuma's Nkandla homestead amounts to a review of the public protector's report.

The minister says his report was confined to four aspects of the Nkandla upgrades including the cattle kraal and so-called firepool.

"The public protector's report deals with all other issues including findings that were made on other issues except the four I've concentrated on."

Nhleko says he did not conduct a new investigation but merely traced the origins of the project.

"I'm not coming up with a new security evaluation; it's all the established and archived reports that are there."

The minister says he is prepared to defend his report in a court if necessary.

POLICE MINISTER'S NKANDLA REPORT

On 28 May, Nhleko announced that Zuma was not required to pay back any of the money spent on upgrades to his Nkandla home.

During that address, the minister said the various investigations into the Nkandla spending debacle, as well as the intrusion into Zuma's private home, had been a violation of his rights.

Nhleko added that the president's family's safety had been breached because sensitive security details had been made public.

The minister went on to say that it was an unprecedented phenomenon the world over that a president's security and privacy was violated to this degree.

Nhleko said the manner in which this matter had been handled by previous investigations sought to question the credibility and integrity of professionals and experts in their relevant fields.

He said the public protector's finding presumed a level of impropriety on the part of the security experts involved.

Nhleko said all agreed that the security upgrades were necessary and said there was no limit on expenditure for security at executive's homes.

He further said all the upgrades done to the president's home were for his and his family's safety, including the chicken run, kraal and fire pool.