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Nxesi in hot seat over classification

The DA wants answers on why Nxesi appeared to blame Siyabonga Cwele for classifying the report.

Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi. Picture: Theo Nkonki/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Democratic Alliance (DA) Parliamentary Leader Lindiwe Mazibuko says there has been a deliberate attempt by Minister of Public Works Thulas Nxesi to make it seem like Minister of State Security Siyabonga Cwele classified the Nkandla report.

However, the Public Works Ministry's Philip Masilo said this was wrong.

"Minister Nxesi didn't say the report was classified by Minister Cwele. The report was classified by him [Nxesi] after consulting a task team."

Cwele has dismissed as "factually incorrect" suggestions by Nxesi that he classified the report.

The DA says if Nxesi doesn't explain why he appeared to blame Cwele for classifying the report it will ask Parliament to take action against him.

Ministry of State Security spokesperson Brian Dube said Cwele could not override the task team's decision to keep the findings private.

"In terms of the prevailing framework that we currently use, the person that can classify a document is the author. In this instance, this report was authored by a task team, appointed by the Minister of Public Works."

Dube said the Public Works Department had to answer questions about the findings as it was their responsibility.

"It is the task team that could have classified the report, not someone else."

The report was written by a task team of justice and security officials who were commissioned by Nxesi to investigate claims of irregularity in the use of public funds in the construction of President Jacob Zuma's Nkandla homestead.

Over R200 million was spent on the upgrade.

In June, government announced that the report would be classified as "top secret", meaning the Public Protector and Auditor-General would not be able to access it.

However, Masilo confirmed the report was handed to Public Protector Thuli Madonsela on Tuesday morning.

"The public protector had requested the minister to provide her with the Nkandla report and the minister made the report available to her."

Despite being handed over to Madonsela, the report will still remain classified for now.