1 minute read
30 Sep 2014
4:29 pm

Nkandla officials’ hearing postponed

The disciplinary hearing against public works department senior project manager Jean Rindel and several others over refurbishments at President Jacob Zuma's Nkandla home has been postponed.

President Jacob Zuma's residence in Nkandla in KwaZulu-Natal on Sunday, 4 November 2012 as seen from the road that was blocked by ANC supporters, who did not want Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille to inspect Zuma's homestead. Picture: Giordano Stolley/SAPA

“The matter in respect of Mr Rindel has been postponed and will continue in the first week of December, from December 1 to 5,” Public Servants Association labour relations officer Roshan Lil-Ruthan said after the hearing on Tuesday.

The others would appear on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.

Lil-Ruthan represents Rindel and several others who intend pleading not guilty to a list of charges related to the Special Investigating Unit’s (SIU) report on the R246 million upgrades to Zuma’s private Nkandla homestead in KwaZulu-Natal.

The charges against Rindel include procurement misconduct, project management misconduct, and supply chain management violations.

Lil-Ruthan said the others faced similar charges.

At Tuesday’s hearing media outlets applied to be allowed to attend the hearings.

“The media brought an application and the chairperson ruled that the media is allowed to attend the hearing. It will be one reporter per media house.”

The hearing was told that the charge sheet would be amended again, for the third time, said Lil-Ruthan.

“Charges may be reduced or increased… which will necessitate further postponements.”

Evidential material had also not been handed over yet.

None of the officials facing the hearing had been suspended.

“They are continuing with their duties. They are still involved in multi-million rand projects. They are still allocating contracts, and participating in bid and adjudication committees,” said Lil-Ruthan.

According to The Mercury, Rindel is blamed in both the SIU and the public protector’s reports for hiring Zuma’s architect Minenhle Makhanya to work on the Nkandla upgrades.

The SIU found Zuma was enriched by state-funded improvements to his home, but blamed Makhanya for the project ballooning into “unacceptable extravagance”.

The SIU filed a civil claim for R155.3m against Makhanya in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on August 11. He has hired lawyers to contest the matter.