Quick about-turn on Nkandla pho­tos

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS -

THE ME­DIA has mis­con­strued a cab­i­net di­rec­tive over the pub­li­ca­tion of photographs of Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma’s Nkandla home, a gov­ern­ment spokes­woman said yes­ter­day.

“Gov­ern­ment has no prob­lem with the me­dia pub­lish­ing pic­tures of na­tional key points, in­clud­ing Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma’s Nkandla res­i­dence, as it is part of their daily line of duty,” said Gov­ern­ment Com­mu­ni­ca­tion and In­for­ma­tion Sys­tem (GCIS) act­ing chief ex­ec­u­tive Phumla Wil­liams.

“How­ever, zoom­ing into safety and se­cu­rity fea­tures of Na­tional Key Points is a chal­lenge as it com­pro­mises na­tional se­cu­rity.”

Sev­eral news­pa­pers printed photographs of the Nkandla res­i­dence yes­ter­day af­ter a warn­ing by State Se­cu­rity Min­is­ter Siyabonga Cwele that it was il­le­gal.

Cwele was ad­dress­ing a brief­ing on Thurs­day that was dom­i­nated by the tus­sle be­tween the gov­ern­ment and Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor Thuli Madon­sela over her im­pend­ing re­port on the use of pub­lic funds to up­grade se­cu­rity at Nkandla.

Wil­liams sug­gested the me­dia had mis­con­strued the di­rec­tive and that re­port­ing on the mat­ter was out of con­text, pro­vid­ing a disin­gen­u­ous view to the pub­lic.

“The pub­li­ca­tion of se­cu­rity fea­tures of Pres­i­dent Zuma’s home di­rectly opens ac­cess to and can ob­vi­ously pose a threat and risk to the per­sonal safety of the head of state.”

Rather, the GCIS urged the me­dia to take a re­spon­si­ble stance by not pub­lish­ing “any se­cu­rity fea­tures of Na­tional Key Points” that may com­pro­mise na­tional safety.

In Par­lia­ment on Thurs­day, Cwele had said pub­lish­ing photographs of Nkandla was an un­ac­cept­able se­cu­rity breach un­der the Na­tional Key Points Act.

Po­lice Min­is­ter Nathi Mthethwa said Zuma was the vic­tim of a pro­pa­ganda cam­paign sug­gest­ing he used tax­pay­ers’ money for his pri­vate home. This was a lie.

“Those who do so fol­low the ex­am­ple of Joseph Goebbels, the pro­pa­gan­dist of Hitler. No mat­ter how of­ten you re­peat this lie, it is a lie.” – Sapa

Siyabonga Cwele

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