Minister defends Zuma over Makhanya appointment

Thulas Nxesi rubbished claims that Minenhle Makhanya's appointment was influenced by Jacob Zuma.

The clinic facility at the president Jacob Zuma's home in Nkandla was among those inspected by Parliament ad hoc committee during their site inspection. Picture: Rahima Essop/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi has dismissed claims President Jacob Zuma influenced the appointment of controversial Nkandla architect Minenhle Makhanya as absurd, unfounded and devoid of evidence.

Makhanya was irregularly appointed as the project manager to head the security upgrades to Zuma's Nkandla homestead in rural KwaZulu-Natal.

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela previously found the president benefited unduly from the non-security features that formed part of the R246 million project to secure his home.

Nxesi said there was no political influence in Makhanya's appointment.

"Even the same Public Protector's report, which some like so much more than other reports, could not find any political interference with the report."

But Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane isn't convinced.

He said according to the Special Investigating Unit report, Zuma facilitated a meeting between Makhanya and the Department of Public Works.

"And the point is, we cannot sit here today and say if someone that I have hired does something completely wrong, that I can't be held culpable."

Nxesi was on Wednesday quizzed about the Nkandla spending debacle by Parliament's ad-hoc committee looking into the matter.

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