Hansard, the official record of parliamentary proceedings, does not agree with Buyelwa Sonjica's version of recent events, the Sunday Independent reported yesterday.
Sonjica, the minister of minerals and energy, said on Tuesday that she did not say in Parliament on January 30 that all South Africans should go to bed earlier so that they could grow and become cleverer.
Sonjica said she was merely chastising Tony Leon, former leader of the Democratic Alliance, who was heckling her.
"She said her comments to him had been taken out of context," the newspaper said.
"Unfortunately, a very good message was trivialised," the minister stated.
But Hansard, the official, verbatim record of parliamentary debates and proceedings, tells a different story.
"It reveals that, when she made her comments about going to sleep early, Sonjica was not addressing Leon at all, but was listing her 10 ways of conserving electricity," the newspaper said.
Hansard reads: "Hon members, I want to conclude by introducing these tips - a 10-point plan that will go towards changing our behaviour in the consumption of electricity.
"All appliances must be switched off ... [interjections] ... at the wall, and not the remote control. We can save about 40MW there. Switch off all lights in the home when not in use and go to sleep early so that you can grow ... [laughter] ... and be cleverer. Boil only as much water in a kettle as is needed. Don't fill up the kettle when you need only two cups."
Leon has read the record.
"Not only is Hansard clear," he said, "but anyone who was there would have noticed that the minister was reading from a prepared text and not speaking extempore." - Sapa