A Report National Treasury submitted to the Constitutional Court on Monday details how its officials, civil engineers and quantity surveyors poured over drawings, documents and reports to reach the calculation that President Jacob Zuma should repay R7.8 million of the public money spent on his private home at Nkandla.
The department said a team from Treasury also visited the president’s homestead in rural KwaZulu-Natal to comply with the court order that it determine the amount owed by Zuma.
It was assisted by the SA Institution of Civil Engineering (SAICE), the Association Quantity Surveyors (ASAQS) and two firms of quantity surveyors who offered their service at no cost to the Treasury to carry out the order. According to a statement from Treasury, a six-member panel consisting of CEOs of the two associations, two professional engineers and two quantity surveyors was assembled to moderate the process.
“The panel was required to moderate the reports, fill the gaps where necessary. prepare a report of the cost measures implemented and make a determination as to what the actual costs for professional services, construction costs and materials should have been in June 2009 when the construction effectively started,” read the report.
Documents furnished by the Department of Public Works on the Nkandla upgrades were examined by the panel, including that of Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, titled “Secure in Comfort”, which found that President Jacob Zuma benefited unduly from the project that cost the State more than R216 million.
Each of the two firms submitted independent reports, which were interrogated. Interviews were conducted with team leaders wherever there were gaps or inconsistencies in the reports.
Through cost analysis and examining the scope of work done on Nkandla’s non-security upgrades structures, namely a visitors’ centre‚ amphitheatre‚ cattle kraal‚ chicken run and swimming pool, the panel concluded the costs for the five structures amounted to R7 million at June 2009 pricing structures and at present amounted to R10.3 million — using 2016 valuation data.
“The panel advised that in their opinion, given the scope of work entailed, those estimates were accurate within 10 percent of prices that currently could be obtained on an open tender,” read the report.
“As a consequence, the reasonable percentage of the estimated costs of the five measures that the president would have to pay personally would be 87,94 percent. This percentage corresponds to R7,814 155 as at June 2009.”
The Constitutional Court had in March given Treasury 60 days to determine how much the president needed to pay out of his pocket for luxuries included in the security upgrade of his rural home.
The court had ruled unanimously that Zuma had 105 days to pay back a percentage of the money spent on non-security upgrades at his private residence. Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng ruled that Zuma and the National Assembly had flouted the constitution, and that the latter failed to hold Zuma to account. The ruling further affirmed that directives issued by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela were binding.
Zuma was ordered to personally pay the costs for the construction of non-security related structures within 45 days of the determination of the amount by National Treasury.
Madonsela had found that Zuma had derived undue benefit from the project and should refund the State a reasonable percentage. – ANA