Nkandla Homestead

Nkandla Homestead is the private home of the incumbent President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, that has drew media and public attention due to it’s R246 million (as of 2014) security upgrades. The Nkandla Homestead has also been the subject of the Public Protector’s, Thuli Madonsela, report title Secured in Comfort and informally known as The Nkandla Report.

Nkandla Homestead
Location Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal
South Africa
Owner Jacob Zuma
Zuma Family
Date Built Unknown


Started August 29, 2009
Status Under Construction
Cost R246 631 303
Style Rondavel Architecture

Professional Team

Architect Minenhle Makhanya Arch.
Project Manager Ramcon
Principal Agent Minenhle Makhanya Arch.
Security Consultant CA du Toit
Structural Eng. Ibhongo Consulting
Civil Engineer Ibhongo Consulting
Electrical Engineer Igoda Projects (Pty) Ltd
Quantity Surveying R&G Consultants
Mechanical Eng. Mustapha & Cachalia CC

The Nkandla Homestead existed prior the now infamous upgrades estimated at R246 million.

It is unclear when it was originally built or it it is the same home the President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, was born in.

The site of the Nkandla Homestead has been reported to be outside the town of Nkandla.

It is 24km south of the town of Nkandla in the KwaZulu-Natal province of the Republic of South Africa.

The site of the Nkandla Homestead is on the land owned by Ingonyama Trust, a legal entity that owns the traditional land administered by Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu on behalf of the state for the benefit of its occupants.

Before Jacob Zuma became President of South Africa he was the Deputy President but only served a single full term and one year of his second term, all under then President of South Africa and the ANC Thabo Mbeki.

He was removed from office six years to the day he assumed it, this was after he was implicated in the a multitude of corruption scandals mostly spanning from the infamous Arms Deal and his financial adviser Schabir Shaik.

Even though Jacob Zuma was no longer Deputy President of South Africa, he remained Deputy President of the ANC and he was the front runner for the ANC Presidency at the 52 National Elective Conference of the African National Congress held in 2007 at Polokwane in Limpopo.

In December 2007 Jacob Zuma was elected and installed ANC President which meant he would be the ANC’s Presidential candidate in the 2009 General Election of South Africa.

On April 6, 2009 the National Prosecuting Authority of South Africa dropped all corruption charges against Jacob Zuma citing political conspiracy.

On April 22, 2009 South African headed to the voting stations to elect a new National Assembly as well as the provincial legislature in each province, the African National Congress won 69.69% of the national vote as well as the majority of the vote in 8 of 9 South African provinces. This confirmed that Jacob Zuma was set to become the 4th President of the Democratic Republic of South Africa after Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki and Kgalema Motlanthe.

On May 9, 2009 Jacob Zuma was inaugurated as the 4th President of the Democratic Republic of South Africa.

Shortly after the presidential inauguration, the security assessment was carried out at the then newly inaugurated President of South Africa.

On August 29, 2009 construction began.


Upgrades Carried Out

The National Department of Public Works of South Africa reportedly commissioned the building of underground bunkers, helipad, security guards accommodation and the fence around the entire site.

As of 2014; the amphitheater, cattle kraal, chicken run, clinic, culvert, swimming pool and the visitor’s centre have been built.

According to the ministerial handbook, the department of public works can spend R100 000 on security upgrades at the private houses of public officials. Any costs above that must be covered by the official. Over R200 million has appeared to be allocated by the department of public works for Nkandla Security upgrades.

Various African National Congress (ANC) and South African government spin-doctors who support the Nkandla Security upgrades have cited the law from the apartheid era, the National Key Points Act, as explanation for the inflated spending discrepancy, but that money should come from a different department.

Other reports citing leaked documentation also hints at vastly inflated prices for the work done, much of it not going out to tender, and huge consulting fees.


Rise to Public Attention

The earliest concerns were raised by the South African newspaper, the Mail & Guardian, in the 2009 December 3 article titled “Zuma’s R65 million Nkandla splurge”.

The initial phase would include the building of a double storey house and a guest house at a projected cost of over R19,4 million.

As soon as the story broke out, government denied having a hand in the upgrades. The public works spokesperson stated; “Please note that there is no work or extension project taking place at President Jacob Zuma‘s homestead at Nkandla.”, contradicting initial statements by government.

The first complaint was by a public member who expressed concern over the revelations and requested an investigation into the misuse of state funds, allegations which were published by the M&G.

On September 30,  2012 former Democratic Alliance parliamentary leader also lodged a similar complaint, including three other members of the public between October and November 2012.


The Public Protector’s Nkandla Report (Secure in Comfort)

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s final report on security upgrades to the homestead titled “Secure in comfort” was published on March 19, 2014 ahead of the 2014 General Election.of South Africa.

Thuli Madonsela found that Jacob Zuma had benefited unduly from the R246 million the state had spent on the upgrades.

“Like all South Africans I have recently read in the media the appalling story of the sums of taxpayers’ money being spent on the private residence of President Jacob Zuma. This is opulence on a grand scale and as an honest, loyal, taxpaying South African I need to understand how this is allowed to happen. Strangely civil society is quiet. This is wrong and highlights the complete disregard which this Government has for the citizens of this country. Where is this money coming from and how has it been approved?”

Thuli Madonsela and her team were tasked with the investigation. The report into the Nkandla upgrade was documented under “Secure in Comfort”.

The investigation was conducted in terms of the provisions section 182 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 (the Constitution) and sections 6 and 7 of the Public Protector Act, 1994 (the Public Protector Act).

Part of the investigation was also conducted in terms of sections 3 and 4 of the Executive Members’ Ethics Act, 1998 (the Executive Members’ Ethics Act).

In section 9, point of the Public Protector’s report reads “The Ministerial Handbook does not apply to the provisioning of security measures by the state in respect of the private residence of the President”.

On January 13, 2013 the Public Protector informed the President that she would be unable to conclude her report within the prescribed 30 day period – Section 3(2) of the Executive Members’ Ethics Act states that; “if the Public Protector reports at the end of the 30 day period that the investigation has not been completed, the Public Protector must submit a report when the investigation has been completed”.

The President suggested to Public protector that she had failed to comply with the 30 day period and to report that the investigation was ongoing and whether the process was justifiable. The President and his lawyers tried to negate the validity of the investigation by requiring the Public protector to indicate whether President had the power to condone any non-compliance.

There is no provision in the Constitution, that authorizes the President to condone any action or omission of the Public Protector.

The security cluster, which is composed of government ministers, raised security questions about the conclusion of the investigation. Eventually the Public protector was taken to court on November 8, 2013 for not giving the security cluster enough time to study the Provisional Report released beforehand.


Parliamentary ad hoc committee

On April 28, 2014 an Parliamentary ad hoc committee set up to consider Jacob Zuma‘s response to Thuli Madonsela’s report was referred to the next Parliament to be formed after the 2014 General Election of South Africa, citing insufficient time available before the May 7 election.

A new Parliamentary ad hoc committee was established in August 2014.

As of August 11, 2014 a Special Investigating Unit (SIU) mandated to investigate the matter by Jacob Zuma in December 2013 is suing the architect for R155.3 million in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court.

On September 12, 2014 the SIU’s report on their investigation was tabled in Parliament. The SIU said that the Zuma family was enriched by the upgrades and blamed overspending on the architect and public works officials, who have alleged interference by Jacob Zuma and others who have all denied these allegations.

The SIU also found that security measures were still inadequate despite the overspending.

The new Parliamentary ad hoc committee will consider the report of an inter-ministerial task team published in December 2013, the Public Protectors’ final report published in March 2014 and the SIU’s report published in September 2014, as well as Jacob Zuma‘s responses to them.


Subject of Political Grandstanding

The Nkandla Homestead upgrades have been a subject of political grandstanding by rival political parties of the ANC which is led by President Jacob Zuma, a man whose private home is at the centre of the R246 million expenditure.

Rather than a legitimate inquest into the authorization of the R246 million spent at Nkandla or a legitimate fact finding mission or providing the public with the true nature of the events that led to R246 million being spent on one family’s home.

Helen Zille – the leader of the Democratic Alliance (DA) – has exploited the saga to it’s fullest.

On November 4, 2012 she was prevented by the South African Police Service from approaching the Nkandla Homestead, she later claimed that she intended “to see what a R250-million renovation with public money looks like”.

The  spokesperson of the Presidency Mac Maharaj said the opposition party adopted a “cowboy style” approach to getting the answers it wanted, and questioned Helen Zille’s use of the word “compound” to describe the homestead.

Dishonesty by the ANC, the officials of the department of public works, President Jacob Zuma himself – who stood up in parliament and claimed that his family had paid for the buildings built at Nkandla – have all contributed to further confusion and exploitation of the truth for political reasons.

Lindiwe Mazibuko who was DA parliamentary leader at the time antagonized the helpless ANC Members of Parliament (MPs) ahead of the 2014 General Election with the Nkandla Homestead security upgrades debacle and upon her departure, her efforts have been cited as part of the DA’s success at the 2014 General Election.

The leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters, Julius Malema, also among the most vocal critics of the Nkandla Homestead security upgrades.

In August 2014 Julius Malema asked President Jacob Zuma in parliament “When are you paying the money because the public protector has instructed you to pay the money? We want the date”.

On section 11 titled Remedial Action in the Public Protector’s Nkandla report (Secure in Comfort), Thuli Madonsela wrote:

11.1 The President is to:

11.1.1 Take steps, with the assistance of the National Treasury and the SAPS, to determine the reasonable cost of the measures implemented by the DPW at his private residence that do not relate to security, and which include Visitors’ Centre, the amphitheatre, the cattle kraal and chicken run, the swimming pool.

11.1.2 Pay a reasonable percentage of the cost of the measures as determined with the assistance of National Treasury, also considering the DPW apportionment document.

It has been clarified that these are not instructions or orders but recommendations – which is what the Public Protectir can do, there is not legal ramifications to action taken in response, or lack thereof, to these recommendations.


Further Political Fallout

COSATU, a member of the governing tri-partite alliance, asked for the overpricing to be reviewed.

Shortly after the publication of Madonsela’s report, the DA sent a bulk text message to Gauteng voters ahead of the 2014 general election which reads: “The Nkandla report shows how Zuma stole your money to build his R246m home. Vote DA on 7 May to beat corruption. Together for change.”

The ANC submitted an urgent application to the South Gauteng High Court to stop distribution of the text message on the grounds that it violated the Electoral Act.

On April 4, 2014 the court ruled that the wording of the message was fair comment and dismissed the ANC’s application with costs. The ANC was granted leave to appeal the decision.

On May 6, 2014 the Electoral Court ruled that the DA must retract the text message, finding that it wrongly targeted Jacob Zuma personally instead of the systematic failures highlighted in Thuli Madonsela’s report.