Zuma does not have to #PayBackTheMoney for #Nkandla: Nhleko

28 May 2015 - 17:42 By Bianca Capazorio

Police Minister Nathi Nhleko says that the firepool‚ amphitheatre‚ kraal‚ chicken run and visitor's centre at the president's Nkandla home are all security features and Jacob Zuma is not liable for any costs associated with them. In summarising his 51-page investigation into the features‚ which Public Protector Thuli Madonsela questioned as being security related‚ Nhleko said that not only were these security features‚ but investigations revealed that certain elements needed to be urgently upgraded and fixed.He said the firepool was "the most important security feature" while the animal enclosure‚ and chicken run were "critical security components".The visitor's centre was "strategic as well as crucial" while the amphitheatre had a "clear security purpose".Nhleko said that the president was "entitled to all the rights that every citizen enjoys" including the right to privacy."While the pursuit of a just and corruption-free society is noble‚ this pursuit should be conducted in an objective and fair manner so that it's very intent is not undermined‚" he said.Earlier today‚ opposition leader Mmusi Maimane announced that the report exonerated him from having to repay any taxpayer funds.“As expected the minister of police who works for President Zuma has determined that He does not owe us a cent‚” Maimane said on Twitter.The ongoing controversy around Nkandla has seen the phrase #PayBackTheMoney become part of everyday lexicon‚ after the Economic Freedom Fighters disrupted the president’s nationally televised question-and-answer session in Parliament in August last year.The EFF call was in line with the recommendation by the Public Protector.#Nkandla report findings - the fire poolNhleko outlined the following regarding the fire pool:-The proximity of the huts to one another and their thatched roofs means that fire would be difficult to control should it occur.-The initial SAPS police security study found that firefighting equipment would need to be placed on site in case of a fire.-Firefighting experts tested the water pressure and found that "an open water source is best for firefighting and nothing could be better than the pool or dam".-A test was done in February this year. The local fire brigade took one hour and 10 minutes to arrive. Suction from the pool worked better than the hydrants‚ which did not have sufficient water pressure.-The water supply to Nkandla is erratic‚ has low pressure and often runs out.Media were shown a video of the firefighting exercise which included dramatic music‚ a call to the firestation and the arrival of the firefighters with small‚ leaking pumps and firefighting hoses which resembled hosepipes.#Nkandla report findings - the animal kraalA video with a cultural expert explaining the role of the kraal as both animal enclosure and site for cultural and spiritual practices was shown. . The family kraal‚ which was built by the family‚ was however in the high security zone‚ and the presence of animals there would set off motion censors and trigger regular false alarms.As such‚ the new kraal was built‚ to act as an animal enclosure.He said it was clear that "in agreeing to shift the animals to a new enclosure" the family had made a "compromise" in the name of security.A culvert was built to channel animals in and out of the enclosure so that the inner and outer perimeter security systems were not interfered with.These perimeter systems were very sensitive and "could easily be activated by free running chickens". As such‚ a chicken run‚ outside of the perimeter was required for the free-running chickens.#Nkandla report findings - the amphitheatreThe Minister quoted a Wikipedia definition of what an amphitheatre is.Nhleko says that the President's residence is built on land which slopes‚ which creates problematic damming of water and soil when it rains.As such‚ soil retaining walls needed to be built.Showing pictures of an entertainment amphitheatre and the Nkandla "amphitheatre"- Nhleko said it "clearly does not resemble an entertainment area".An image of a man sitting on the steps is shown. His feet do not touch the ground."Dwarf stepping walls" were a security feature as they did not allow for intruders to hide out the same way that straight walls did.The stepping up ground retention method is also better than straight walls as retention walls as they are stronger.Landscaping was introduced to "make good after the construction of the new security access roads".The wall also carries a road on top which had to be strong enough to carry the weight of large security vehicles. It also serves as a primary emergency assembly point.#Nkandla report - The visitor's centreA visitor's centre and control room were requested by SAPS.Despite being his private residence‚ Zuma does sometimes receive high-profile guests and heads of state there.The visitor's centre provided a "conducive and appropriate security environment" in order to receive such guests.From our archives:The public protector's recommendationsIn her March 2014 report‚ Madonsela found that Zuma had enjoyed undue benefits from non-security-related upgrades and recommended that Zuma should pay back a percentage of the R246-million spent on security upgrades to his private home.In her explosive 443-page report titled “Secure in Comfort”‚ Madonsela found that Zuma and his immediate family unduly benefited from measures implemented in the “name of security”‚ including a visitors’ centre‚ a swimming pool‚ an amphitheatre and a cattle kraal with culvert‚ and chicken run. The private medical clinic will also benefit the family in perpetuity.Madonsela said she had found that Zuma not only knew about the fancy upgrades but personally requested the construction of the cattle kraal and changes to the design of the bullet-proof windows.In addition to his private architect‚ Minenhle Makhanya — who Madonsela found benefited to the tune of R16.2-million — a private project manager was appointed at a cost of R5-million after Zuma twice complained in 2010 about the slow progress of the construction.Madonsela found that though Zuma might not have wilfully misled parliament in 2012 when he said taxpayers did not pay for any of his houses‚ his failure to protect state resources violated the Executive Ethics Code.She said Zuma had failed to apply his mind to the contents of the declaration of his private residence as a National Key Point. He had failed to implement security measures at his own expense‚ as directed by the National Key Point Act‚ or to approach the minister of police for a variation declaration.Ultimately‚ Zuma had failed to discharge his responsibilities as the guardian of public resources and beneficiary of public privileges and resources‚ Madonsela said.“I believe the president should ideally have asked questions regarding the scale‚ cost and affordability of the Nkandla project.”Madonsela did not give the specific amount Zuma must repay. She recommended that the National Treasury and the South African Police Service determine the “reasonable cost” that does not relate to security.If this had been accepted‚ Zuma would have had to pay a percentage of an estimated R78.7-million.Read the full report by the Public Protector.-RDM News Wire

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