The ongoing scrutiny of President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla home has made him even more vulnerable to further security risks, prompting Police Minister Nathi Nhleko to re-evaluate the security upgrades.
This was one of the reasons given by Nhleko on Tuesday for proposed additional spending on the KwaZulu-Natal homestead.
“The challenge is now that we have gone this route, there has got to be re-evaluation… of the security circumstances around that homestead and the president himself,” he told reporters in Pretoria on Tuesday.
“Now that you know that there is a thing PTZ [pan tilt zoom camera] and PIDS [perimeter intrusion detection system] and motion detectors and where they are located and so forth, if you want to do something [to the president], now you supposedly can.”
Nhleko said the question of Zuma’s vulnerability now was a valid point and he had been approached by people asking about it.
He said security and non-security people had asked him, “Minister, don’t you think that the extent to which you have opened up this thing places the president at a point of vulnerability?”.
“It’s a valid question. That becomes a challenge.”
During the briefing, Nhleko rehashed most of his report, which he had presented in Cape Town earlier this month and sought to clarify certain issues.
He said the incompleteness of some security features would also mean that additional spending was needed on Nkandla.
This was raised in the public protector’s report, as well as the Special Investigating Unit’s (SIU) report and the police minister’s.
“Work which is incomplete must be completed,” Nhleko said.
The minister said he was tasked by Parliament to make a determination of what was security and non-security features.
“The report I produced has everything to do with resolutions of Parliament and everyone is at liberty to see it in any way he or she sees fit. If you disagree that’s fine – I accept that but then get into the detail and content of what I put across.”
‘Come forward with proof’
He challenged anyone who did not agree with his determinations to come forward with proof.
Nhleko looked at four features – the swimming/fire pool, the kraal/chicken run, the amphitheatre and the visitors lounge.
He went as far as comparing some of the Nkandla security features with features at former president Nelson Mandela’s Qunu home in the Eastern Cape.
He showed the media photos of Mandela’s Qunu swimming pool, which he called a fire pool, and a culvert.
“One of the interesting things, that requires a follow-up if I’m not mistaken, is security upgrades in Qunu which were done almost 10 years ago.”
Nhleko said R32 million was spent on the upgrades to Mandela’s Qunu home.
“In 2009 we needed security upgrades [to Zuma’s home] and spent R50.5 million. The question is whether or not between the two spending patterns is there consistency.
“The R32m which was spent in Qunu translates to R71m spent today.”
Nkandla spending breakdown
Nhleko gave a breakdown of how much was spent on Nkandla, saying only R50.5 million was spent on actual security features.
According to Nhleko the total expenditure on Nkandla was a little more than R206 million. Of this R50.5m was spent on security upgrades, R20.7 million on consultants and professionals and the biggest portion of R135.2 million was spent on 21 houses for the SA Police Service (SAPS) and the SA National Defence Force (SANDF).
However, he said houses built outside the perimeter of the actual homestead for the SAPS and SANDF were not security features and should not have been lumped into the amount spent on security for the president.
Nhleko said the spending on the houses had to be followed up on.
“There are… critical issues which have to be followed-up on. Who took the decision that 21 houses where R135 million was spent and have nothing to do with the president’s homestead, needed to be constructed? That issue requires some further work,” he said.
Nhleko said the SIU report had stated that the houses had nothing to do with security upgrades.