Corruption Watch has written a letter to Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi asking for clarity on his comments regarding the planned R203-million upgrade to President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla homestead in KwaZulu-Natal.
This follows media reports that Nxesi defended the department’s multimillion-rand revamp plans by saying they were in line with the Ministerial Handbook and formed part of security arrangements for South African presidents’ private residences.
The plans for the upgrade were first revealed in a City Press exposé on Sunday 30 September.
However, Constitutional Law expert Pierre De Vos, in his blog Constitutionally Speaking, has pointed out that the handbook stipulates R100 000 is the maximum amount that can be spent on such arrangement.
In its capacity as a civil society watchdog that monitors how public funds are used, Corruption Watch believes South Africans deserve an explanation for this R202.9-million discrepancy.
Here is the full list of questions we have asked the minister to respond to by Friday 12 October:
- Has your department indeed approved the R203-million upgrade of the Nkandla homestead? If so, when and under what authority?
- Is the President’s Nkandla homestead designated a national key point under the National Key Points Act? If so, when did such designation take place?
- To your knowledge, was the budget for the upgrading of the Nkandla homestead approved by the Defence Ministry in line with the National Key Points Act?
- Does Annexure E of the Ministerial Handbook set limits on the amount that can be spent on security upgrades of the private residences of Cabinet members? If so, what is the amount?
- Is the Special Account for the Safeguarding of National Key Points (established under the National Key Points Act) being used to fund the Nkandla homestead? If so, how much of the account is being used?