Zuma
Jacob Zuma

Outstanding concerns must be addressed regarding the alleged abuse of public funding in security upgrades of President Jacob Zuma’s private home, the parliamentary Ad Hoc Committee in charge with investigating the issue said on Friday.

Zuma
Jacob Zuma
The committee, comprising MPs from different political parties, called Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko and Public Works Minister Lynne Brown to appear before the commitee to respond to the outstanding concerns.
There was consensus among political parties represented on the committee that these two ministers should appear before the committee to clarify some issues in order for the committee to be sufficiently empowered to take an informed decision about the matter, Committee Chairman Cedric Frolick said.

The committee had just concluded its site visit to Zuma’s private home in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal Province. The project allegedly cost 246 million rand (about 19 million U.S. dollars) in public funding. Facing mounting criticism, the government has maintained that the money was used to upgrade security necessary for a head of state.

The opposition insists that Zuma pay back the money spent on non-security items. But Police Minister Nhleko said earlier this week that all features in the Nkandla project are necessary for the security of the president, including a cattle kraal.

He further said the cost of the upgrades could still increase as the investigation had forced some of the work to be halted.

“The presentation by Police Minister this past Tuesday did empower the Committee, but members feel that he needs to come back and clarify some of the concerns that emerged during the Committee site visit to Nkandla on Wednesday,” said Frolick.

On the matter concerning the Public Works Minister, Frolick said there were many questions committee members needed to pose to her as the political head of a department that was tasked with overseeing contractual obligations between the state and building contractors involved in contracting state buildings or prestige projects in this case.

“Members want to know who was responsible for this gross inflation of prices at the Nkandla project so that those found liable should reimburse the state,” added Frolick.

With the committee expected to table its report to the National Assembly by August 7 this year, Frolick said the committee intends calling the respective ministers by no later than next week in order for the committee to meet its deadline. Enditem

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