Sanef tak­ing Man­tashe is­sue to ethics body

Pretoria News - - NATION - BRIBERY CLAIMS SAMKELO MTSHALI [email protected]

THE South African Na­tional Edi­tors’ Fo­rum (Sanef) yes­ter­day said it would be ap­proach­ing Par­lia­ment’s ethics com­mit­tee soon to have it look into Min­eral Re­sources and En­ergy Min­is­ter Gwede Man­tashe’s bribery claims against two Sun­day World jour­nal­ists.

Last year Man­tashe made the star­tling claims against two jour­nal­ists of the Sun­day tabloid, claim­ing that he had given them R35 000 each to quash a story ex­pos­ing his ex­tra­mar­i­tal af­fair with a Pre­to­ria woman named Ler­ato Mak­gatho.

How­ever, in a dra­matic twist Man­tashe then made a quick U-turn.

He claimed that de­spite ac­tu­ally mak­ing the claim against the jour­nal­ists he had not ac­tu­ally made any pay­ments to them to kill the story.

Sanef wrote to Par­lia­ment’s ethics com­mit­tee last Novem­ber to call a hear­ing on Man­tashe’s con­duct, but to date there has been no hear­ing.

Man­tashe has also still not is­sued an apol­ogy.

In De­cem­ber, Sun­day World edi­tor and pub­lisher Makhudu Se­fara said that he had his jour­nal­ists un­der­went lie de­tec­tor tests to de­ter­mine whether the jour­nal­ists had so­licited money from Man­tashe or his as­so­ciates, whether they had made con­tact with Man­tashe and his as­so­ciates and whether they had di­rectly or in­di­rectly re­ceived money from Man­tashe and his as­so­ciates.

Se­fara said that the re­porters had passed the lie de­tec­tor tests be­cause Man­tashe’s claims could not be ver­i­fied.

Upon fol­low­ing up on the mat­ter ear­lier this year, Sanef ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Kate Skin­ner said that the com­mit­tee had told Sanef they would not be able to deal with the mat­ter im­me­di­ately.

Skin­ner said the com­mit­tee had in­di­cated that it would “def­i­nitely be look­ing into the mat­ter” af­ter the State of the Na­tion Ad­dress and the Bud­get speech.

When con­tacted by In­de­pen­dent Me­dia yes­ter­day to find out whether the com­mit­tee had an­nounced a date for the hear­ing, Skin­ner said the com­mit­tee had not com­mu­ni­cated with them.

She said they would be ap­proach­ing it in “the next day or two” over the mat­ter.

“We will def­i­nitely ap­proach the ethics com­mit­tee again in the next day or two.

“We are not let­ting him (Man­tashe) get away with it,” said Skin­ner.

Po­lit­i­cal an­a­lyst Mighti Jamie said there was cur­rently a cred­i­bil­ity cri­sis for both jour­nal­ists and politi­cians.

He said that every­body in­volved in the jour­nal­is­tic space should go be­yond the limit to en­sure that trans­parency was main­tained as there was a real con­cern around whether politi­cians were brib­ing jour­nal­ists to get rid of sto­ries or to get favourable sto­ries.

“It puts a ques­tion mark over all the sto­ries that every­body reads in main­stream news pub­li­ca­tions, and work­ing within the jour­nal­is­tic space we all have to be vig­i­lant around the brand of jour­nal­ism as it ex­ists right now,” Jamie said.

He added that the lie de­tec­tor test used by Sun­day World was in­ad­mis­si­ble in a court of law be­cause it was sus­cep­ti­ble to ma­nip­u­la­tion and could be faulty.

“It is im­por­tant to be aware that the me­dia right now is fac­ing an ex­is­ten­tial cri­sis where so­cial me­dia is dom­i­nat­ing the nar­ra­tive and pro­fes­sional jour­nal­ism is suf­fer­ing from a loss of fund­ing,” Jamie said.

| African News Agency (ANA) ar­chives

MIN­ERAL Re­sources and En­ergy Min­is­ter Gwede Man­tashe claimed that he had given two Sun­day World jour­nal­ists R35 000 apiece to quash a story ex­pos­ing his ex­tra­mar­i­tal af­fair with a Pre­to­ria woman named Ler­ato Mak­gatho.

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