PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma must pay the R7.8m he owes for the Nkandla upgrades by September to comply with a Constitutional Court order.
He has 45 days in which to pay the money, following the Constitutional Court’s approval on Tuesday of the amount as stipulated by the National Treasury.
The National Treasury calculated that Zuma should pay 87.9% of the cost of five items deemed non-security by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela in her 2014 report, Secure in Comfort, on security upgrades amounting to R246m at Zuma’s homestead at Nkandla, in KwaZulu-Natal. This amounted to R7.8m. The Treasury last month submitted to the court the “reasonable percentage” it had determined.
Zuma had refused to take responsibility for the excessive spending, the ANC vilified Madonsela and there were raucous confrontations in Parliament between the ANC and the EFF, which taunted Zuma with the slogan: “Pay back the money”. Zuma offered to pay only after the EFF took him to court.
In a Constitutional Court judgment handed down at the end of March, Zuma was found to have failed to uphold, defend and protect the Constitution in his handling of Madonsela’s report on Nkandla.
The amount determined by the Treasury was reached through a rigorous process involving two firms of quantity surveyors and a panel of six experts from the South African Institution of Civil Engineering (SAICE) and the Association of South African Quantity Surveyors. (ASAQS). They had volunteered their services and the Treasury accepted to ensure “objectivity” and “maintain independence” in the process. The two firms did not have contact with one another and held site visits separately.
The Public Works Department was asked to provide construction and engineering drawings to aid the quantity surveyors. However, according to the Treasury report, some of the drawings provided were incomplete, incorrect or not reflective of what was actually built.
The costs of the five items — the visitors’ centre, swimming pool, amphitheatre, cattle kraal and chicken run — were estimated at 2016 prices and adjusted for 2009 values, as that is when the construction took place.
At the time the Constitutional Court ordered that Zuma “personally pay the amount determined by the Treasury” within 45 days of the court approving the Treasury’s report.