Grossly inflated Nkandla exposed

Contractors and Public Works officials responsible for the security upgrades at President Jacob Zuma’s private residence should pay back the money that had been wasted because of grossly inflated prices and also face prosecution, said the parliamentary ad hoc committee on Nkandla on Wednesday.

This was the view the chairman of the committee, Cedric Frolick, expressed during a visit by the committee to Zuma’s Nkandla homestead on Wednesday to assess the work done on the controversial upgrades.

“People responsible for the inflation of prices should be held accountable in line with the findings in the SIU report that disciplinary and other action as well as criminal prosecution must be pursued against individuals, contractors and any public works officials responsible,” he said.

Committee members were taken on a tour of the compound, but they did not go into Zuma’s private quarters. One of the things they had come to see was the security barracks consisting of 21 houses to be used by members of the SANDF and police officers.

Frolick said what they saw was a gross inflation of prices and the president was not “secure in comfort” as there was still a lot of incomplete work around the compound.

“What I saw here today is not worth the R200-plus million claimed. We have seen a gross inflation of prices. In fact, when we entered the president’s office that is the so-called visitors’ centre it was actually a modest place – my constituency office is four times bigger than the place.”

The twenty-one thatch-roofed houses built for police and soldiers tasked with protecting Zuma stood mostly empty, gathering dust, the verandas covered with goat and cattle droppings.

The only sign that people were living there were a few makeshift beds in one of the rondavels.

The police and SA National Defence Force members meant to occupy the houses – apparently built at a cost of at least R6-million each – are staying in nearby park homes until the completion of parliament’s investigation of the expenditure of R246-million on “security upgrades” at Nkandla.

SANDF Brigadier-General Siphiwe Shezi said the unused clinic was meant for locals, government officials, dignitaries visiting the president and army officials deployed in the province.

“Even US President Barrack Obama can be treated here if he gets bitten by a snake while in the province.”

Source: IOL