The Star newspaper on Monday said it stood by the contents of a story it published about the future of the houses occupied by President Jacob Zuma's support staff at Nkandla.
Earlier, Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi and Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti issued a joint statement in which they refuted the article, which was also published in the Pretoria News.
The article stated that Nxesi and Nkwinti had contradicted each other in terms of what would happen to some of the houses on Zuma's multi-million-rand homestead in KwaZulu-Natal - as some of it was built on state-owned land managed by the Ingonyama Trust Board.
The article quoted Vuyo Bavuma, speaking on behalf of Nxesi, saying that the support staff houses built on the state-owned land would be sold once Zuma's five-year term was over.
Nxesi, however, said Bavuma was not his spokesman.
The Star's editor Makhudu Sefara said: “It’s a fact that we did speak to Bavuma, the public works’ stakeholder communications specialist, whom we erroneously referred to as the spokesman.
“We specifically asked him to confirm a statement published in the Sowetan, in which Nxesi was quoted as saying that some houses built by the government in Nkandla would be sold after President Jacob Zuma’s term of office expired, because they were part security upgrades,” Sefara said in a statement.
He said Bavuma confirmed the quote was a true reflection of what Nxesi had said, and therefore The Star used it in their publication.
“Bavuma ought to have indicated to us that he was not permitted to speak on behalf of either the department or minister when an enquiry was made with him,” he said.
The Star reported that Nkwinti apparently contradicted Nxesi and said houses on Ingonyama Trust Board land could not be sold as the trust only leased land. - Sapa