Contractors were paid R117 million in total for security installations at President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla homestead, Democratic Alliance MP Anchen Dreyer said in the National Assembly on Thursday (14/03/2013).
This included, among other things, "emergency work relating to security measures” as well as provision of a mobile generator, bullet-resistant glass, a high-security fence and a lift.
"The cost for these security measures adds up to R117 million.
To put this amount into context, the department of public works built a new jail in Kimberley with top-range security [for] R45 million.
"But [it] spent R117 million, exactly 260 percent more, to provide security for one man,” she told MPs.
Responding in the House, Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi said he had sent a letter to Speaker Max Sisulu on Wednesday announcing he was ready to share the report on spending at Nkandla "with a special committee that is dealing with security matters”.
He repeated that the spending was being investigated.
Nxesi said Dreyer "keeps on coming with information in drips and drabs from her informers”.
In his letter sent to Sisulu, Nxesi said the report needed to be "dealt with in the utmost sensitivity”, in line with the National Key Point Act.
"I am of the view that tabling such a report in Parliament will be tantamount to debating a state security matter in public.
"Therefore, I propose that the report be tabled and dealt with by a parliamentary committee responsible for security matters, or that a mechanism be devised by Parliament that will permit the matter to be discussed without compromising the security of the president and his immediate family,” he said.
In a statement earlier on Thursday, Dreyer said this sounded like "a request for the report to be heard behind closed doors”.
The DA insisted the report be dealt with in an open committee, "so that all the details regarding this scandal are made public”.
Anything less would continue to shroud it in secrecy and prevent real action being taken against those implicated in it.
"The DA will write to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Max Sisulu, to request an undertaking that this committee is open to the public.” The party would push for Nxesi to table a ”full unexpurgated report with no omissions or deletions”, and that the report be debated in the National Assembly.
It would further seek that action be taken "against all those who are implicated in any wrongdoing, from the top down”.
African National Congress Chief Whip Mathole Motshekga’s office said the party agreed with Nxesi on the creation of a "special parliamentary mechanism” to deal with the report, saying it should be dealt with in-camera.
"We will therefore prefer that the report of the department of public works task team be dealt with by a special committee and in-camera.” It said section 59 of the Constitution ”permits in-camera committee meetings when it is reasonable and justifiable to do so in an open and democratic society”. - Sapa