IFP Nguni-gate statement a 'lie'

Mary Papayya

Mary Papayya

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sibusiso Ndebele said it was an "outrageous and despicable lie" that his department had withdrawn its advertising from the Sunday Tribune because of the Nguni-gate scandal.

Ndebele was responding to IFP leader Lionel Mtshali's recent statement that the provincial government had withdrawn advertising of R200000 from the Independent Newspapers Group in response to the investigative coverage of overspending and mismanagement in the Department of Agriculture and Environmental Affairs.

The story revealed that high-profile politicians, their wives and traditional leaders benefited unfairly from a multimillion-rand cattle rehabilitation project in the province.

Ndebele said: "It is a pathetic attempt to get cheap publicity. On February 27 I met with all editors of Independent Newspapers in KwaZulu-Natal for normal discussions about how to deepen relationships."

Mtshali condemned what he called the provincial government's "cowardice and inability to face up to the reality of mismanagement and corruption in its ranks" and for taking its frustrations out on the media for merely doing their job.

Sunday Tribune editor Alan Dunn said: "As of now, the truth is that the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government advertises in our newspaper."