Nkandla security must be re-evaluated - Nhleko

JULY 21, 2015

Security at President Jacob Zuma's Nkandla residence needs to be re-evaluated due to the public scrutiny it has come under, Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko said on Tuesday.

In addition, the cost of the upgrades could still increase as the investigation had forced some of the work to be halted, he told Parliament’s ad hoc committee on Nkandla, in the KwaZulu-Natal legislature in Pietermaritzburg.

The committee, which includes members of the ANC, DA, ACDP and NFP, is expected to visit Nkandla on Wednesday. The so-called security upgrades have so far cost taxpayers R246 million.

“This is exactly what we are saying - that the security experts must go back to assess the extent of the vulnerability and how the president has been exposed,” Nhleko said.

“We won't know how much it will cost before this exercise is done. But [with] the security issue, we will arrive at a different conclusion because of the re-evaluation.”

'We all know how this is going to play out'

FF Plus Chief Whip Corne Mulder pointed out that Public Protector Thuli Madonsela had made recommendations for Nhleko to act on.

"We all know how this is going to play out. You came to the conclusion that the president was not liable for the upgrades. The truth, minister, is that your appointment depends on this because you are looking into the same person that appointed you."

Nhleko replied that Mulder did have a point, but that judges, for example, were also appointed by Zuma and were not expected to make rulings in his favour.

“I think it's childish and unethical to think that just because you are appointed by someone that you can't be critical of them. In the report that I have produced, I stated clearly how I came to the conclusions.

"If these features are said to be security, I need to question why they are. That is the exercise we are doing here. The fact is that there is authority in place that said what must be done.

“My oath of office requires me to be honest in terms of my work.”

Nhleko said the amphitheatre and soil retention wall, visitors’ centre, “firepool”, kraal and culvert, were all security features and maintained Zuma did not have to pay for these.

This contradicted Madonsela’s own findings - released in March 2014 - that Zuma should pay for those features not related to security, like the pool and the amphitheatre.

-News24wire