Nkandla: Govt to investigate construction of 21 security staff homes

Nhleko dismissed the claim that taxpayers forked out nearly R250 million for upgrades at Nkandla.

A view of the homestead of South African President Jacob Zuma in Nkandla in January 2014. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - Police Minister Nathi Nhleko on Tuesday said government still needed to investigate who authorised the construction of 21 houses for security personnel at President Jacob Zuma's Nkandla homestead which remain unused to this day.

The minister had been answering questions on his report which he formally released last month.

Nhleko said around R200 million was spent on the upgrade, of which only R70 million was spent on so-called 'security features'.

The minister said the remainder was spent on the houses for police services and defence force personnel.

"Who took the decision that the 21 houses in which we spent R135 million that have nothing to do with the president's homestead needed to be constructed? We need to follow up on that one."

At the same time Nhleko defended the spending by comparing it to spending on former president Nelson Mandela's Qunu home 10 years ago.

He says the costs of the upgrade to Zuma's home can be compared to the spending at Madiba's house when taking into account inflation over the last decade.

"Security upgrades at Qunu were done 10 years ago and we spent R32 million at the time. In 2009 we spent R50,5 million including the R20,5 million in Nkandla."

NHLEKO INSISTS ZUMA OWES NOTHING FOR NKANDLA

Earlier on Tuesday Nhleko dismissed the claim that taxpayers forked out nearly R250 million for upgrades at Nkandla, saying only R50 million was spent.

"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.