/ 2 July 2013

Nxesi denies accusing Cwele of classifying Nkandla report

Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi.
Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi.

"[Nxesi] has noted with concern the media reports and questions insinuating or suggesting that [he] misled Parliament and the public that the task team report was classified by [Cwele]," the public works ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

"In line with a written reply to a parliamentary question by the [Democratic Alliance], we reiterate that the minister of public works classified the report in terms of the minimum information security standard [MISS]."

Last month, it was reported that Nxesi told Parliament Cwele had classified the report – which was drawn up by a presidential task team, in terms of the MISS.

This meant that not even auditor general Terence Nombembe or public protector Thuli Madonsela could have access to the report.

On Tuesday, the ministry said the report was classified after extensive consultation with all the parties involved and was in line with a Cabinet-approved policy on the protection of information exempted from disclosure.

"The report deals with sensitive security issues relating to the security upgrades at the private residence of the President [Jacob Zuma] that were effected after the security assessments by the security cluster departments," the ministry said.

"Therefore, the allegations that the minister of public works misled Parliament or the public are unfounded and incorrect."

Nxesi met Madonsela
It said Nxesi met Madonsela on Tuesday and gave her the report.

Cwele on Monday denied classifying the report into the upgrade of Zuma's R206-million Nkandla homestead. 

In a statement at the time, Cwele appeared to pass responsibility for the matter to his public works counterpart – who in May dashed expectations that the report would be tabled in Parliament.

"It is factually incorrect that the minister of state security, Dr Siyabonga Cwele, has 'classified the report top secret' or issued an instruction to this effect, as claimed in some media reports," his office said on Monday. – Sapa