Friday, November 23, 2012

Nkandla: Documents call Zuma's bluff

23 NOV 2012 00:00 - SALLY EVANS, LIONEL FAULL, PHILLIP DE WET An M&G investigation reveals that President Jacob Zuma was kept up to date about developments and taxpayer money was used for his private homes. OUR COVERAGE ANC: Media 'deliberately misleading' on Nkandla reports FNB: We couldn't have given Zuma a bond for Nkandla Nkandla: Zuma does have a bond - for R900 000 MORE COVERAGE Opposition: Zuma misled Parliament over Nkandla No bond registered on Zuma's Nkandla home President Jacob Zuma was provided with exhaustive details about progress on the security project at his Nkandla complex in November 2010, documents provided to the M&G Centre for Investigative Journalism on Thursday show. They cast doubt on his vehement denial in Parliament last week that he was unaware of the scale of construction. The documents, which refer euphem­istically to the Nkandla expansion as "prestige project A", reveal how Zuma's supposed private contribution dwindled by half from more than R20-million to slightly more than R10-million, while the total costs more than doubled. Nklandagate: The impact on Mangaung and beyond They also show that taxpayer money was also spent on buildings for the personal use of the Zuma family and not only for new, adjoining security infrastructure, as claimed by the department of public works when first confronted about the R250-million spent on Nkandla. Also clear from the documents are the large contributions expected from the department of public works for the completion of buildings that Zuma told Parliament were entirely paid for by his family, particularly a new guest residence and two new private residences. The documents also show that at least one minister became involved in the nitty-gritty of construction at the site after delays mounted. Although the Mail & Guardian has been unable to verify all the documents independently, some of which are marked "top secret", the timing and some of the details corroborate information previously provided by a highly placed source. Overseeing the work Perhaps the most damning of the documents is a letter addressed to Zuma in which the then newly appointed public works minister, Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde, writes: "I have taken the view that it is prudent to update you on the progress of the above prestige project", before giving precise expected completion dates for 17 individual components of construction. The letter contains an even more detailed progress report from the project managers responsible for overseeing the work. Last week Zuma told Parliament he was not aware of the cost of the security installation at Nkandla. "What the government did, given its own considerations of security, was to build other houses beyond my home for the security personnel," he said during an off-the-cuff answer to questions. "These are not shown on television and these are really the government's houses, but I do not know how much they cost … Now, I do not know where this amount of money went to." His answer to Parliament focused on three elements of the security upgrade: fencing, bulletproof windows and an underground bunker. But the documents show that he was also kept abreast of progress on a tuck shop, a sewerage treatment plant, the upgrading of water supplies and other elements. Read more… What's in the name of a country estate? Reddy an unapologetic benefactor Profligate and presidential Although the letter to Zuma does not include information about the costs involved, minutes of meetings and internal memos from the department of public works make it seem likely that the amounts would have been brought to his attention. Bullet-resistant glass Mahlangu-Nkabinde was not the only minister deeply involved in the project. In September 2010, her predecessor, Geoff Doidge, appears to have become involved in frantic attempts to fast-track the construction. In minutes of an emergency meeting held at the Nkandla site, Doidge complains about delays in the provision of bullet-resistant glass and the short time remaining for the completion of the interior design. Changing the public works minister in mid-stride did not prevent high-level continuity of the project – director general Siviwe Dongwana attended both the site meeting with Doidge and later prepared at least one memo to brief Mahlangu-Nkabinde on the issue. If Zuma's statement that he was ignorant of the costs is accepted, it would imply that neither Doidge nor Mahlangu-Nkabinde considered it worth mentioning that, at the time, the estimated project cost had already exceeded R100-million. A memo also shows that an internal security director in the presidency was involved in the original scoping of the security work, further expanding the pool of people who had access to Zuma and, possibly, a duty to inform him of the cost implications. Although instructions from the president are never mentioned, a nervousness about the delays – which also delayed building work being done by Zuma's contractors – is evident. "On or about the end of June 2010, it became evident that some of the major activities related to the security installation had not progressed to the extent as was originally envisaged," one public works memo states. Among the sticking points were that a specialist security consultant had not yet been appointed for the work, 10 months after the project was initiated. Such delays would eventually see Doidge, and others, including surgeon general Veejay Ramlakan, become personally involved in window-frame lead times, expediting the delivery of sections of fencing and establishing how much water would be required for the festive season. Large contributions From the leaked documents available and the financial details in the latest documents, it seems that the total cost of construction escalated from R111.3-million in the later part of 2010 to R248-million during 2012. The documents show that the department of public works was expected to make large contributions for the completion of three residences that Zuma told Parliament were entirely paid for by his family. These residences were expected to cost R19.4-million, of which the department was going to pay R6.5-million. It would also pay for the bulk of the earthworks and stormwater drains around the new residences. As of late 2010, Zuma was expected to pay a total of R22.6-million towards the improvements. But in the face of the steadily escalating costs of the project, Zuma's overall contribution appears to have been revised down to R10.6-million. Shortly before the Mail & Guardian went to print, presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj referred all questions to public works. The two previous public works ministers could not be reached for comment. Sally Evans and Lionel Faull work for the M&G Centre for Investigative Journalism (amaBhungane) MAIL & GUARDIAN Nkandla: Reddy an unapologetic benefactor 23 NOV 2012 00:00 - AMABHUNGANE REPORTERS Without Vivian Reddy's provision of surety, FNB would not have granted a loan for President Jacob Zuma's Nkandla property. OUR COVERAGE Nkandla: Documents call Zuma's bluff ANC: Media 'deliberately misleading' on Nkandla reports FNB: We couldn't have given Zuma a bond for Nkandla Nkandla: Zuma does have a bond - for R900 000 Vivian Reddy, the ­Durban tycoon who helped to fund the first phase of President Jacob Zuma's sprawling Nkandla homestead, prides himself on bankrolling ANC struggle veterans. Evidence was led at the corruption trial of Zuma's former financial adviser, Schabir Shaik, that after Shaik balked at the escalating cost of the Nkandla development, Reddy stepped in to help Zuma to secure a home loan from First National Bank (FNB). The judge in the Shaik trial, Hilary Squires, also found that a R250 000 payment by French arms-deal bidder Thomson CSF (formerly called Thales) to Zuma had passed through the bank account of Reddy's Development Africa Trust en route to funding the Nkandla project. Nklandagate: The impact on Mangaung and beyond In a February 2012 profile in the Witness newspaper, Reddy is quoted as saying: "It's no secret that I have helped lots of struggle veterans because it is in my nature to help people. I have been in business since apartheid, while these brave people sacrificed their jobs, lives and families to give the nation human rights and dignity. This is my way of contributing to the liberation struggle.The sacrifices made by these activists for a free and democratic South Africa are deserving of my generosity. Where would we be without their selfless contribution? "I have helped lots of them and, like Zuma, they pay me back. I put formal loan agreements in place." The KwaZulu-Natal-born electricity magnate started to build his Edison Power Group more than 30 years ago with just R500 in his pocket and a borrowed bakkie. Read more… What's in the name of a country estate? Profligate and presidential Documents call Zuma's bluff His family-owned empire has expanded from a one-man electrician's shop to a wide portfolio of interests in energy, casinos, healthcare, financial services and property development. Insurance assessments Much of his wealth comes from major KwaZulu-Natal government contracts, including one related to the R7-billion Dube Trade Port, as well as lucrative black economic empowerment deals. He has publicly donated money to the Jacob Zuma Foundation and gave financial support to Zuma before the ANC's 2007 Polokwane conference, although he claimed that the latter had paid him back "every cent" in terms of a formal agreement. In 2002, Reddy helped Zuma to secure a R900 000 home loan from FNB on his Nkandla residence. Zuma first applied for a loan in 2001, when his homestead was worth between R650 000 and R750 000, according to a bank valuation and insurance assessments. By December 2002, FNB had granted him a loan, despite the fact that he was in dire financial straits, did not have a formal lease on the land and the bank's policy was not to bond property in tribal trusts. The existence of the loan and some of the details surrounding it were confirmed in the original indictment against Shaik. The loan was granted, the court was told, only because of a R400 000 surety signed by Reddy, who then made the monthly R12000 bond repayments until at least March 2004. The indictment noted: "Without [Reddy's] surety, the application would not have been approved due to the financial profile of Zuma and the fact that the property in question forms part of tribal land." Repaid Last weekend, Reddy confirmed that he had lent Zuma money for the first phase of construction, adding that the loan had since been repaid. In his judgment in the Shaik trial, Squires referred to evidence that Reddy had stepped in to help a cash-strapped Zuma with payments for Nkandla when Shaik reportedly grew frustrated with his profligate spending. Zuma contracted builder Eric Malengret to build the homestead at a cost of R2.4-million, later reduced to R1.3-million, without consulting Shaik, although he had no way of paying for the construction. Reddy also allegedly lent Malengret R50 000 after Zuma failed to pay him. At least part of the payment for Nkandla, according to prosecutors in Shaik's trial, was linked with the notorious "encrypted fax" drawn up by an executive of French defence company Thomson CSF, Alain Thetard. The fax reflected Thetard's report of his meeting with Shaik and Zuma in Durban in March 2000, the month Zuma commissioned architects to design his homestead. According to the fax, Shaik indicated to Thetard that Zuma was requesting R500000 a year in return for his protection in the looming investigation of the arms deal and his support for future Thomson projects. Zuma denied the meeting to Parliament, whereas Shaik said during his trial the meeting did happen, but was about a Thomson donation to the Jacob Zuma Education Trust, an explanation rejected by the judge. Instead, Squires found that a first payment of R250 000 in terms of the bribe agreement found its way into Reddy's bank account: "It is clear that one payment was made which went via [Shaik's company] to Development Africa, which was Reddy, and Reddy eventually achieved payment of a large part of the costs of the Nkandla project." * Got a tip-off for us about this story? Email The M&G Centre for Investigative Journalism (amaBhungane) produced this story. All views are ours. See for our stories, activities and funding sources. Mail & Guardian DA files interdict to have Zuma no confidence motion debated 17 NOV 2012 15:58 - SAPA The DA has filed for an urgent interdict to allow the motion of no confidence against President Jacob Zuma to be debated in the National Assembly. OUR COVERAGE Hands off our revered president Zuma Zuma defends his Nkandla 'family home' in Parliament Parties to file motion of no confidence against Zuma Parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko said the Democratic Alliance (DA) would never allow the ANC to defeat the aims of constitutional democracy. "That is why yesterday I filed papers at the Western Cape High Court to seek an urgent interdict to compel the Speaker of the National Assembly to uphold the constitutional right of the opposition to have this motion debated." Mazibuko was speaking at the DA's Gauteng North Regional annual general meeting in Tshwane. She said the ANC was blocking the motion of no confidence against Zuma because it was scared that its own members would vote against him. "The ANC parliamentary caucus is blocking it because they fear, rightly, that their own members will side with the opposition to vote against the president," she said She said the Constitution allows for the motion to be considered in the National Assembly. "It is indeed a sad day when a member of Parliament must seek an order of the court to compel the legislature to respect the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, and our rights to hold the President, that we elected accountable," said Mazibuko. A motion of no confidence in Zuma was tabled on November 8. President above the Constitution It was brought on the grounds "that under his leadership the justice system has been politicised and weakened; corruption has spiralled out of control; unemployment continues to increase, the economy is weakening, and, the right of access to quality education has been violated". ANC Chief Whip Mathole Motshekga on Wednesday said there was a unanimous agreement in the party's caucus that the motion was frivolous and had nothing to do with Section 102 and 89 of the Constitution. He said the ruling party did not support it. Mazibuko said the ANC was putting its President above the Constitution. On Thursday while answering questions in the National Assembly, Zuma said he felt "aggrieved" by media reports that the government had paid more than R200-million for his Nkandla home. Mazibuko said the public was hurting too and questioned if Zuma knew that. "How does he think the millions of people who have no work feel when their president lives in such grand splendour? How does he think the parents of children who never received textbooks… feel?" asked Mazibuko. "How does he think the widows and children of the 34 police and security officers, and mineworkers who were gunned down in cold blood at Marikana feel?" – Sapa. Mail & Guardian - - - - - COMMENTS BY SONNY The roots of corruption in the "SA ARMS DEAL" run deeper than anyone can imagine. ZUMA SHOULD 'NEVER' HAVE BEEN APPOINTED PRESIDENT OF SOUTH AFRICA! CORRUPTION BEGETS CORRUPTION IN THE INNER CIRCLES OF THE ANC. Shoot from the hip Zuma. The DA may has lost their application for an interdict against Parliament but the battle will now be fought in the ConCourt in the next two weeks! ZUMA THE PRESIDENT BY DEFAULT!?


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