The Mail & Guardian’s investigative journalism unit, amaBhungane, have uncovered over 12,000 pages of a report by the Department of Public Works on “Project A” – the construction and upgrade of Jacob Zuma’s R210 million Nkandla Homestead. The documents describe, as expressed by the Mail & Guardian, “an orgy of kowtowing” and subserviance as officials scrambled to fulfill Jacob Zuma’s wishes at gross expense to the tax payer.
Here’s an extract from the article:
In short, there is nothing in the Nkandla files that could not have been publicly disclosed, except that they paint an unedifying picture of how senior officials and politicians:
- Scrambled to meet deadlines set by Zuma, taking short cuts on tendering processes;
- Shifted money from other programmes to accommodate the unbudgeted spending;
- Implemented the Nkandla project with few proper cost controls and no allocated budget or limit on spending;
- Were mainly concerned with delivering to Zuma (referred to as “the principal”) at a speed and level of quality befitting a “prestige project”;
- Were reluctant to allocate costs to Zuma, including for the building of a new cattle kraal, a plant nursery, a road network and other improvements that will benefit Zuma’s family long after he ceases to be president and
- Paid out an underperforming contractor at least partly because threatened court action could cause “political fallout that could possibly influence the principal’s political position very negatively”.
Although the documents provide evidence that in some cases the contracts were poorly managed, there is not a great deal to support the allegations of “overcharging” apparently raised in the task team report.
But there are significant gaps – notably in relation to communication with directors general, ministers and deputy ministers and, crucially, Zuma – though the documents provide intriguing pointers that cast doubt on the president’s attempts to distance himself from the project and suggest that he played an important role in how the process unfolded.
Read the whole thing, HERE.
[Source : Mail & Guardian]
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