“It will be wrong to exonerate the President – money spent on Nkandla should be recovered,” Agang SA Member of Parliament, Andries Tlonamma, said.
Tlonamma was speaking during the Ad hoc committee’s sitting in the Pietermaritzburg provincial legislature yesterday following the committee Wednesday’s oversight visit on the Nkandla homestead.
During their visit, the MPs in among other things, found that items passed off by contractors as security features costing more than R200 million were in fact modest features that should have cost a few thousands of rands.
What has been described by contractors and the public works department as an amphitheatre was in fact a few square-metre area meant to gather in case of a fire outbreak or any other emergency.
While ANC MPs in the committee had wanted to use the shoddy work done by contractors in President Jacob Zuma’s homestead as a weapon to defend the President and portray him as a victim of unscrupulous contractors, opposition MPs maintained that he should be held responsible.
Tlonamma said the fact that Zuma had handpicked most of the contractors, including the projector’s principal agent, Minenhle Makhanya, was proof that the President had condoned the “looting” of State resources in Nkandla.
“He is the one who recommended these contractors – he should pay,” he said.
The contractors had build 21 houses next to the homestead at a cost of R135 million.
Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) MP, Narend Singh, said while he accepted that the houses – at R6.8 million each, did not directly fall under the security upgrades project at the President’s homestead, Zuma should still be held responsible.
“There would not have been any barracks if he was not living there – so, there is definitely a causal link,” he said.
However, ANC MP, Vincent Smith rejecting the opposition’s thinking, saying it contractors and government officials involved in the project who should be held accountable.
“It is very clear as to who is responsible – it is the accounting officer who is responsible for applying the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) he said.