A key witness at the trial brought before the special tribunal by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) in its bid to recoup R155 million from the architect of former president Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla homestead, has revealed how the appointments of some companies did not follow due process.
SIU wants to recoup R155m from Minenhle Makhanya, the architect of Zuma’s controversial thatched roofed property, which cost taxpayers in the region of R246m. The witness, an investigator for the SIU, said some private professional teams were nominated and given direct appointments, and one was appointed as security consultant on an emergency basis and not reported to the Treasury up until the SIU investigations commenced.
Since Monday, when the trial commenced at the Pietermaritzburg High Court where it is being conducted in camera in order not to reveal various security details of Zuma and his family, the tribunal has heard shocking revelations of flouting of tender processes in the security upgrades at the Zuma home which eventually came to R246m.
The witness relayed how Moneymine Investments and Bonelena Construction and Projects (Pty) Ltd, two entities who did certain civil works purportedly undertaken at Nkandla, were appointed through a negotiated process and ultimately paid R54.8m. The witness said that almost a year later, on August 16 a further assessment was submitted and that the estimate did not have breakdown of the public and private job, adding that there was a difference of R88.5m with the previous work which was at R77m.
She said that included in the unit was the construction of a guard house, fire pool, car parking, and several housing units for workers, a clinic and a tuck shop with the total further increasing by R67m and a further R96.8m.
The witness added that later the amounts were revised and were then above R100m. She went on to tell the court that as of January 25, 2010 the project cost was estimated at R161m and that there was no reasonable explanation for the basis for the division and estimates of the costs.
The witness also told the court that a mere three days later on January 28, 2010, the costs were revised at R216m and included costs of professional fees and that as of December 12, 2013 the costs were at R216m and there were no further claims.
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