WATCH | Calls for investigation into Gwede Mantashe and alleged bribery

29 October 2019 - 10:24 By Unathi Nkanjeni

Politicians and the South African National Editor's Forum (Sanef) have weighed in on Gwede Mantashe's alleged bribery of two journalists, calling for the minister to provide more information about the claims.

This comes after Sunday World reported on Mantashe's alleged marital infidelity.

The story also contained what seemed to be the minster's response in which he allegedly admitted to having paid two journalists from the publication R70,000 to bury the story.

Mantashe on Tuesday denied the allegations.

Following the news, EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi called on the mineral resources minister to "hand himself over" and reveal the names of those he paid.

“I really don’t care much about the private life of the man. What should concern us is the bribery of journalists. He must hand himself over to the police and release the names,” he said.

DA's request

The DA requested an investigation by parliament’s joint committee on ethics and members’ interests on the conduct relating to Mantashe’s catastrophe.

In a statement, the party 's MP Kevin Mileham said Mantashe's admission served as an “admission of guilt” and he believed the minister needed to be held accountable.

“As members of parliament, ministers must be held to a high standard and must provide ethical leadership to the people they serve.

“By admitting to paying off two journalists, the minister did not act ‘in accordance with the public trust placed in [him]’, nor did he ‘maintain public confidence and trust in the integrity of parliament’. 

“If one is ethically comfortable with giving a bribe, it begs the question about whether the same individual would find it ethically permissible to accept a bribe. This becomes worrying when it becomes evident that the individual, at the cornerstone of such claims, is in charge of South Africa’s nuclear plans, mineral resources and energy.”

Mileham said "brown envelope journalism" should be frowned upon.

“Those who indulge in such transactions must be held accountable for their actions. It is unacceptable for a member of cabinet to bribe the media, or individual journalists, regardless of the story or occasion.

“South Africans deserve a free and fair media, which provides unbiased content free from bribes and corruption,” he said.

Sanef is 'shocked'

Sanef also has joined the fray, urging Mantashe to name the two journalists he allegedly paid off.

The forum said the allegations were “shocking”. 

"As a result of these shocking allegations, Sanef will be pursuing the following actions:

"Writing to the minister to request that he reveals the names of the journalists involved; supporting Sunday World ’s investigations into the matter; supporting Sunday World ’s commitment to ensuring that all Sunday World journalists sign pledges to ensure ethical journalism.”

The forum said it would add a specific clause to its draft rules of engagement with political parties to call for politicians to support an outright ban on any form of brown envelope journalism.

“Sanef champions ethical journalism. We believe that if anyone has any evidence of unethical journalism — including the very serious breach of accepting funds for journalism — they should go to the Press Council.”

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