Pay back the R7.8M



June 28, 2016
Pay back the R7.8M

PAYBACK TIME: President Jacob Zuma

Treasury announces the cost of non-security Nkandla upgrades.

The calculations have been done, but it’s nowhere near the R200 million mark some expected.

Yesterday the National Treasury told the Constitutional Court that it believes the amount of money that President Jacob Zuma should pay back for non-security upgrades to his Nkandla home amounts to just over R7.8 million.

The Treasury says it contracted two independent quantity surveying firms to conduct two separate investigations, and that it then moderated the results of the two probes.

Six engineering experts visited the Nkandla compound in KwaZulu-Natal to estimate how much it cost to build Zuma’s “fire” pool, amphitheatre, cattle kraal, chicken run and visitors centre.

On 31 March, the Constitutional Court instructed the Treasury to determine the reasonable costs of these facilities, which ought to be paid personally by the president.

The treasury came to a final figure of R7 814 105, calculated in 2009 prices.

It released the figure just a day short of the 28 June deadline set in the Constitutional Court ruling.

The court found that President Zuma failed to uphold, defend and respect the Constitution when he failed to act on Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s recommendation to pay back a portion of the money.

A 21-page report shows every step the National Treasury took, after appointing an independent panel of managers from the SA Institution of Civil Engineering (SAICE) and Association of South African Quantity Surveyors (ASAQS).

The report, submitted to court, says: “The identity of the one firm was not disclosed to the other in order to maintain independence and objectivity.”

The experts then submitted their findings to the six member panel who had to come up with the final bill for Zuma.

National Treasury points out: “The Panel concluded that the reasonable costs of the five items amounts to R8 884 364 (including VAT) as at June 2009 and R11 753 758 (including VAT) as at May 2016.”

The only genuine security feature that was found was the ground floor of the visitors centre because it’s used by the police as part of Zuma’s security and the cost of that construction wasn’t included in the President’s bill.

If the Constitutional Court approves this amount of R7.8 million, Zuma will have 45 days in which to pay back the money.

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