Sanef to write to Mantashe to reveal names of two journos he reportedly paid to 'destroy' story

Minerals and energy minister Gwede Mantashe reportedly admitted to paying two Sunday World journalists to destroy a story.
Minerals and energy minister Gwede Mantashe reportedly admitted to paying two Sunday World journalists to destroy a story.
Image: Simphiwe Nkwali © Sunday Times

The SA National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) says it will write to minerals and energy minister Gwede Mantashe and ask him to reveal the names of two journalists he reportedly paid to “destroy evidence” of an alleged extra marital affair with a student.

In a statement issued on Sunday, Sanef said it was shocked by reports that Mantashe admitted to paying two Sunday World journalists to kill a story about a reported affair with Lerato Makgatho.

Mantashe could not immediately be reached for comment by TimesLIVE.

In a story published by Sunday World, Gwede is quoted as saying he paid the journalists R70,000.

“I begged them not to write the story. I paid two journalists at your publication. I will not reveal their names,” Mantashe reportedly said.

Sanef said it would take action to address the matter by “writing to the minister to request that he reveals the names of the journalists involved”.

“Further, we want to remind the public that we have launched our own independent Inquiry into media credibility and ethics, chaired by retired Judge Kathleen Satchwell.

“We encourage any South African with evidence of journalists acting unethically or illegally to approach Judge Satchwell and the authorities. Please send submissions to panel@mediainquiry.co.za,” Sanef said.

Sunday World editor and publisher Makhudu Sefara said he would investigate the matter.

He said journalists would also be required to sign a solemn pledge of ethical conduct.

“As the new owners and managers of this newspaper, we take the claims made by Mantashe, which ostensibly happened before the paper was bought by Fundudzi Media, very seriously,” said Sefara.

Sunday World was previously owned by Tiso Blackstar Group.

Tiso Blackstar Group's managing editor, Moshoeshoe Monare, said the company had noted with “shock” the minister’s alleged admission to paying journalists.

“The press code and the company’s own editorial policy are opposed to any form of corrupt and unethical journalism. It’s a dismissible offence to accept money or any form of bribe to write or not to write a story,” said Monare.

“Until June 21 this year, the company was the publisher and owner of the Sunday World. These allegations were never brought to the attention of the company.

“The Sunday World has because been purchased by Fundudzi Media, and all the employees of this title have been transferred to Fundudzi in terms of section 197 of the Labour Relations Act.

“However, these allegations are deeply concerning and affect the integrity and credibility of the industry and the profession at large,” Monare added.

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