Nkandla architect given more time to prepare defence in R155m civil case

11 June 2019 - 13:21 By NIVASHNI NAIR
Nkandla architect Minenhle Makhanya has been given more time to prepare his defence against the SIU's civil claim against him.
Nkandla architect Minenhle Makhanya has been given more time to prepare his defence against the SIU's civil claim against him.
Image: TEBOGO LETSIE

Civil proceedings to recoup about R155m from the architect of former president Jacob Zuma's KwaZulu-Natal homestead may get under way only next year.

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) on Tuesday said the trial was scheduled to start in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Monday, but Minenhle Makhanya was given more time to prepare.

"While the SIU was ready to proceed, the court, on hearing submissions from counsel acting for Mr Makhanya, was of the view that it was in the interest of justice to afford the defendant more time to prepare his defence," the unit's spokesperson, Nazreen Pandor, said.

The SIU pursued action against Makhanya in August 2014, where it sought an order to set aside his appointment as principal agent and architect, and for the recovery of R155m in damages relating to the Nkandla security installation project.

Pandor said the unit would apply for a new date in 2020 as per the availability of a court.

"The high court roll leads to the delay in SIU civil litigation matters being heard in the high court," she said.

To address the cause of the delays, President Cyril Ramaphosa has issued a proclamation to re-establish the special tribunal to adjudicate on civil matters emanating from SIU investigations.

Pandor said the setting up of the tribunal by the justice department was at an advanced stage and was due to start working in August this year.

"Once the special tribunal starts functioning, the delays in enrolling SIU civil litigation matters will be addressed and the recovery of monies and assets acquired in a corrupt manner will be fast-tracked and returned to the state," said head of the unit advocate Andy Mothibi.

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