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How Nkandla has expanded - PICS

Published Nov 25, 2013

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Cape Town -

An aerial photograph released by technology website TechCentral on Monday shows the vast scale of the R208 million development at President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla homestead.

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The photo also shows part of the upgraded road to the complex, which cost R582m, as well as the land developed by the state for auxiliary services next to Zuma’s home. The new soccer field, hockey field and entertainment area are also visible.

TechCentral editor Duncan Mcleod says in an accompanying article that the image was taken by a high-altitude mapping camera.

The image, which is not yet available on online maps, is in stark contrast to the current Google Map image of the Nkandla residence which was taken in about 2009 when Zuma took office. This shows a simple cluster of buildings with a small kraal for cattle.

Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa said the homestead had been declared a national key point in 2008, and last week a media storm errupted after he and State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele made comments that were widely interpreted as a ban on the publication of photographs of the site.

On Friday, the government claimed some media houses had indulged in “unbecoming reportage that deceive the public and create a negative perception” in their reporting of the ministers’ comments.

The acting chief executive of the Government Communication and Information System, Phumla Williams, said reports had “completely misconstrued” comments by Mthethwa and indicated the problem lay in media “zooming in” on security features.

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“Government has no problem with the media publishing pictures of national key points, including President Zuma’s Nkandla residence, as it is part of their daily line of duty,” she said in a statement.

“However, zooming in to safety and security features of national key points is a challenge as it compromises national security. 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.”

 

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At the weekend, Cape Argus sister title the Saturday Star published an interview in which Williams said she did not believe images freely available through Google Earth, for example, posed a security risk for Zuma.

 

“What has been of concern is somebody getting the pictures and then putting names to them, like this is ‘gate one’ and ‘gate two’, and showing that this is the water reservoir.

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“Surely that can’t be right… it’s almost an indirect way to say to anyone who is planning a devious thing.

“I still want to see if Google Maps can zoom in to my house and show where my alarm and sensors are. I don’t think it can.”

Cape Argus

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