Sanef disagrees about Nkandla pictures

By Drum Digital
21 November 2013

The South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) says the media will continue to publish pictures of President Jacob Zuma’s upgraded Nkandla home.

“We will continue to publish images of the Nkandla upgrades because we firmly believe there is immense public interest in doing so. To stop doing so will be a betrayal of our duty as watchdogs of democracy,” said Sanef in a media statement.

On Thursday, State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele warned the media to stop publishing photographs and footage of Zuma's home in KwaZulu-Natal.

He said this was an unacceptable security breach under the National Key Points Act that would not be tolerated in any democracy.

"It is important also to just send a caution that we have got laws --yes, some of them we will have to amend -- but the continuing of flaunting of these pictures [of] a place which has been declared by the minister of police as a national key point is also not correct. It is a breach of law."

Cwele was addressing a post-Cabinet briefing, which 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.

But Sanef argues that the purpose of the National Key Points Act of 1980 is to protect the security measures of national key points from being revealed.

“In this case, it unfortunately seems that the ministers are using security laws to avoid accounting to the public on the Nkandla upgrades,” said Sanef.

“It has never been the intention of the media to undermine President Zuma’s security by publishing these pictures. Similarly, we publish photos of other national key points, like the Union Buildings and Parliament on an almost daily basis.”

“The photographs that have been published were taken from a distance or from the air to show the extent of the upgrades worth over R200 million that the public has paid for.”

“It must always be remembered that these upgrades were done to President Zuma’s private residence, from which he and his family will continue to benefit for years to come and not state property."

-SAPA

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