Nkandla payback amount panned by opposition

BY CHARL BOSCH - JUNE 28, 2016

The Presidency has said it will be studying the report of National Treasury that President Jacob Zuma needs to pay back a percentage of the R246-million spent on security upgrades at his private Nkandla residence.

In a statement on Monday afternoon, Treasury announced that a panel of six experts and two quantity surveyors had determined the President needs to pay back R7.8-million for the inclusion of non-security items, consisting of the swimming pool (R2 321 725), amphitheatre (R1 002 125), cattle kraal (R1 287 046), chicken run (R251 996) and visitors centre (R2 930 409).

The final determination, which comes after the Constitutional Court ruled in March that the President violated his oath of office by ignoring the remedial actions of Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s Secure in Comfort report, had been calculated at the time the items were included in the built, 2009, and would now have to be paid back by Zuma in person within the next 45 days.

Opposition parties have however expressed outrage at the determination with the Democratic Alliance (DA) stating that Zuma needs to pay back the full amount instead of the just over three percent calculated.

“We maintain that a “reasonable percentage” of the reasonable costs can only be 100%. In determining the reasonable percentage thereof that he must pay, the National Treasury must send a clear message to all public representatives that corruption will not be tolerated,” DA leader Mmusi Maimane said in a statement.

“We simply cannot accept that ordinary citizens have to carry the burden of the President’s self-serving conduct. The only reasonable thing for him to do is to personally pay back 100% of the reasonable costs of the upgrades”.

In a similar reaction, Freedom Front Plus Chief Whip Corne Mulder said the determination amounted to nothing but a “rap over the knuckles to satisfy the public”.

“The R7.8-million is less than five percent of the costs of the total amount spent on the Nkandla project. This is unacceptable,” Mulder said.

“We are of the opinion that a quantity surveyor should do a thorough analyses of the project as the value of the existing security upgrade work could definitely not amount to close to R200-million. An expert must therefore conduct an investigation to realistically determine what the work was supposed to cost”.

Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) Chief Whip Narend Singh has said it would request Treasury to provide a full breakdown of how the amount was determined, while Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) National Spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi told News24 the next step would be initiate criminal charges against Zuma, before deeming the amount as not enough.