Sanef taking Mantashe issue to ethics body
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.
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.