Saturday, 9 April 2016

I introduced Nkandla architect to Zuma: Khulubuse

President Jacob Zuma's nephew, Khulubuse Zuma, has revealed that it was he who introduced Nkandla architect Minenhle Makhanya to the president, and that his own home was the model for the R246-million homestead.


Makhanya has been slapped with a R155-million claim from the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) related to costly upgrades at Zuma's homestead .

Makhanya was the principal agent during the upgrades and allegedly changed specifications and hired companies to conduct work outside of the original scope.

In an interview with the Sunday Times on Friday, Khulubuse said his relationship with Makhanya went back many years - the architect designed his multimillion-rand double-storey mansion near Zuma's homestead.
I introduced Nkandla architect to Zuma: Khulubuse
In fact, said Khulubuse, Zuma's homestead was modelled on his complex. "He was doing my own complex way before and then the family decided that he was going to build for ubaba [Zuma] as well. Then I said, 'Minenhle, do the same thing for ubaba,'" he said.

Although Khulubuse would not be drawn to discuss the SIU's case against Makhanya, he defended Zuma, saying government funds were used to pay only for "bulletproof" windows, nothing more.

The president has persistently defended the upgrade of his Nkandla homestead, saying he had done nothing wrong and merely built "my father's house".

"I never asked anyone [to help me with the upgrades]. I have wives and so I needed to extend my homestead to accommodate my large family. That is not a crime," Zuma said in March.

He said the government had installed bulletproof windows and other features because of security considerations.

Despite Zuma's repeated attempts to halt the debate over Nkandla, the furore refuses to die down. On Thursday, Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema led a charge against Zuma in parliament, demanding that he "pay back the money". It was a reference to public protector Thuli Madonsela's recommendation that Zuma pay for the taxpayer-funded features in his home that are unrelated to security.

The SIU has lodged a civil claim against Makhanya at the High Court in Pietermaritzburg.

But Makhanya, who has gone to ground and maintained a stony silence throughout the Nkandla scandal, has filed a notice to defend the R155-million civil claim.

Khulubuse has his own legal woes. Tomorrow he will file an affidavit in the High Court in Pretoria in defence of a claim by the liquidators of collapsed mining company Aurora Empowerment Systems.

Khulubuse has put the blame for the collapse of Aurora mines on Nelson Mandela's grandson Zondwa and another director, Thulani Ngubane.

Khulubuse said he had placed his absolute trust in Zondwa and Ngubane, on whose judgment he relied for day-to-day management of the mines. He said he lost about R35-million in the failed venture.

It is understood that this will be the crux of his affidavit.

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