Zuma’s proposal could be game changer for Nkandla architect

The SIU has taken Minenhle Makhanya to court to pay back millions over alleged misspending at Nkandla.

FILE. Parliament’s ad hoc committee went to Nkandla and conducted an in-loco inspection of President Jacob Zuma’s private home in rural KwaZulu-Natal. Picture: Rahima Essop/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Lawyers for the man known as the Nkandla architect Minenhle Makhanya, say President Jacob Zuma's proposal to pay back some of the money spent on his home could have a dramatic impact on the case he faces.

On Tuesday night, Zuma said he had proposed to the Constitutional Court that the Auditor-General and finance minister decide how much he should repay for Nkandla.

But the Democratic Alliance (DA) has already said the case must be heard next week while the Public Protector says she's still looking at the legal issues in the proposal.

LISTEN: #PayBackTheMoney: Why now?

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has gone to court to try and force Makhanya to pay back millions of rand, because they believe he's responsible for the misspending at Nkandla.

Now, his attorney Barnabas Xulu says Zuma's proposal could be a game changer.

"If it were to be decided that a portion of the amount is supposed to be paid by the president, that means it will definitely have an impact on how much the SIU intends to pursue against our client."

He says Makhanya has always maintained he simply did what was asked of him on the Nkandla build project.


Zuma's legal advisor Michael Hulley says his client has always been clear that there must first be a process to determine an amount before he could commit to paying back the money spent on his Nkandla home.

Hulley says the president has been consistent but this has been overshadowed by politics in the past.

Hulley says the president has not only established the formula to determine how much he should pay back, but also given the commitment to pay back whatever that amount is.

"Consistently he has been saying that he cannot pay back the money, so to speak, because there has been no determination made and there has been no process that has been established."

LISTEN: _ANC on Zuma paying back the money _

To read the Public Protector's full report on spending at Nkandla, click here.