Sanef: Mantashe can’t be let off the hook for ‘brown envelope’ retraction but no apology

Sanef: Mantashe can’t be let off the hook for ‘brown envelope’ retraction but no apology

Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe. Picture: Gallo Images / Netwerk24 / Felix Dlangamandla

The ANC’s chairperson made headlines last month for a claim that he paid R70K to make an article about his sex life go away, which he now claims didn’t happen.

The SA National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) has hit out at Minerals and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe for not apologising for apparently falsely claiming that he bribed journalists at the Sunday World newspaper to quash a story about his personal life.

He has retracted the statement, but unapologetically.

The forum has now followed up on the letter it wrote to President Cyril Ramaphosa on 29 October asking him to call Mantashe to account, with little evidence of this to date, said the organisation’s executive director, Kate Skinner.

“This is an extremely serious matter for Sanef, and we will continue to seek answers. As a result, we have now also written to the Parliamentary Ethics Committee asking the Committee to hold a hearing into the matter.”

Sanef had also followed up with members of Judge Satchwell’s independent Media Ethics and Credibility Inquiry, which Sanef has been a key driver of.

“The panellists have confirmed that they will be approaching Minister Mantashe to make a submission.

“Sanef believes that, as a minimum an apology is required – to the journalists at the Sunday World, the Sunday World itself, all journalists whose reputations have been tarnished as a result of his claims, and the South African public as a whole.”

They reiterated the fact that paid-for or so-called “brown envelope” journalism was a very serious breach of the Press Council Code.

“Sanef believes that brown envelope journalism is a scourge and cannot be tolerated in any form. If organisations or members of the public have any evidence – or evidence of any other ethical breaches in the media – we encourage them to make submissions to the Satchwell Media Ethics and Credibility Inquiry.”

Submissions can be sent to panel@mediainquiry.co.za before the new, extended deadline of 31 January 2020.

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