Nkandla architect misses Special Tribunal trial due to hospitalization

Nkandla architect Minenhle Makhanya missed day 4 on Thursday of his Special Tribunal trial due to ill health.

The tribunal was informed that Makhanya was hospitalized at an undisclosed facility in Durban on Wednesday night.

A medical certificate was submitted to the Tribunal and it indicated that Makhanya would not be available on Thursday and so the trial is expected to resume on Friday at 10am.

Since the trial commenced on Monday, the Tribunal has heard, among other matters, that some of the air conditioners (aircons) installed at former president Jacob Zuma’s private residence at Nkandla eventually cost R4 million instead of the R152 000 which had initially been approved.

The Tribunal also heard that R8.8 million was spent to tar the roads leading to Zuma’s private residence in Nkandla despite a recommendation by the police that R98 000 should be spent.

The Tribunal also heard that proper procedures were not followed to appoint Makhanya.

R500 000 was approved for three guard houses for the South African Police Service (SAPS) and a tuckshop, the tribunal heard, however, a witness told the court that after Makhanya “over designed” the amount shot up to R2.5 million, “which is the amount in respect of the claim being pursued”.

The Tribunal heard that landscaping at Zuma’s residence cost R7 million.

The “firepool” and the VIP parking for the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), which the army had not requested, were not security requirements for the private residence of the former president, the Tribunal heard.

R3 million was paid for the designs of the VIP parking with motorized garage doors and for the “fire pool”.

R8 million is the estimated cost of the onsite clinic, which was designed by Makhanya, and the payment for it was approved by the first defendant as the principal architect, the Tribunal heard.

R2.5 million instead of R900 000 was paid for the construction of the control room, without the approval of the Department of Public Works, the Tribunal heard.

The Tribunal also heard that a private request was made for a visitors lounge and that R7 million was paid for this and the control room.

The Tribunal was scheduled to hear the trial in the R155 million civil recovery proceedings between the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) and Makhanya and the Department of Public Works for a week, starting on Monday.

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