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‘R135m was not part of the president’s Security Bill’

ANC MP Vincent Smith says the 21 homes built for security personnel are not part of the president’s estate.

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

PIETERMARITZBURG - An African National Congress (ANC) Member of Parliament (MP) has told a Parliamentary ad hoc committee looking into the Nkandla spending debacle that at least R135 million was not part of the president's Security Bill.

Vincent Smith made the comment during the committee's deliberations about an in-loco inspection of Jacob Zuma's private home in KwaZulu-Natal.

The committee was also shown the 21 houses that had been built for security personnel, as well as a clinic on the outskirts of Zuma's estate at the cost of R135 million.

Smith says the homes are not part of the president's homestead.

"The R246 million that is being ascribed to the president's private homestead is simply not correct. The demarcation showed it, the minister's report showed it and that was the first point I must make."

Meanwhile, MPs looking into the Nkandla spending debacle have been given a letter which suggests Zuma instructed the building of "bachelor flats" for the South African Police Services (Saps) members back in 2009.

It offers a possible explanation as to why 21 houses for security personnel were built on the outskirts of the president's estate.

To date, there has been uncertainty about who authorised the building of those homes.

The ANC has been at pains to say the houses are not part of the Nkandla project's Security Bill.

The damning letter is part of a bundle of declassified documents that were this week handed over to MPs sitting on the ad hoc committee.

The 2009 letter from a senior superintendent to officials from the Department of Public Works articulates what the president wanted.

The instruction is that a house on Zuma's property, which was being used by Saps members, had to be converted as part of his household.

The letter goes on to say that the department had to cater for the needs of those officials and additional bachelor flats had to be added to the needs assessment document previously provided to the department.

The ANC has denied the letter directly links the president to the construction of the barracks, but has been unable to clearly explain what the instruction was all about.

MADONSELA UNDER ATTACK

At the same time Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has come under attack from the ANC.

MPs on the ad hoc committee are deliberating about what they saw on the president's property yesterday.

Last year, Madonsela found the president unduly benefited from non-security features which formed part of the project to upgrade his homestead.

ANC MP Thandi Mahambehlala has lashed out at Madonsela for "misleading the country" with her Nkandla report, which she says has tarnished government's image and credibility.

Her colleague Mmamoloko Kubayi says South Africans have been exposed to misleading terminology.

"I cannot even imagine how the word 'amphitheatre' was used for that place."

DA MP Glynnis Breytenbach says Madonsela should explain her findings to the ad hoc committee.

"If there are some disconnects with her report, and there might be some, then we need to hear from her."

Ruling party MPs have reiterated the president is not secure in comfort, as Madonsela's report suggests.