President Jacob Zuma's upgraded Nkandla home. Picture: REUTERS/ROGAN WARD
President Jacob Zuma's upgraded Nkandla home. Picture: REUTERS/ROGAN WARD

Nkandla architect Minenhle Makhanya is one step away from appearing in court over the R246m spent on the controversial upgrades to President Jacob Zuma’s private home.

This is according to a report submitted to Parliament by the Special Investigating Unit.

However, MPs expressed concern at the slow pace at which the unit concluded civil and related matters.

Andy Mothibi, the head of the unit, told Parliament’s portfolio committee on justice and correctional services the Makhanya matter was among the civil matters the unit had proclaimed for finalisation in the 2016-17 financial year.

Action proceedings were instituted in the high court to claim back the loss of the R155m suffered by the state due to the conduct of the principal agent overseeing the Nkandla security upgrades, he said.

The matter had reached a point at which the only issue outstanding was a court date.

"Pleadings have closed. The Special Investigating Unit served its discovery affidavit of 92,000 pages. The next step is the pre-trial conference, whereafter the matter will go to trial."

The unit put the value of the civil matter at about R115m.

DA MP Werner Horn said he welcomed the progress, but was worried that the unit took a long time to conclude its matters.

African Christian Democratic Party MP Steve Swart said he found it "worrisome" that the unit was "dragging its feet" on the investigation of entities including the SABC and Eskom.

"Are we winning the battle against state capture? It looks like a no. In the SABC matter, you said you were keen to go and it took month. It seems like the same is happening with the Eskom matter," said Swart.

EFF MP Sam Matiase said: "Delays coupled with the vacancies in the Special Investigating Unit make us look weak in the fight against corruption. What is it from your point of view that you would recommend Parliament do to make sure that you are able to fight corruption?"

The head of the Special Investigating Unit offered an assurance that the unit would not allow irregularities on its watch. He pointed to its previous reliance on consulting firms as a factor affecting the pace at which it operated.

magubanek@businesslive.co.za

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