Newsman charges ‘friend’ of Bheki Cele

2010-01-21 00:00

POLICE have launched an investigation into intimidation charges laid by a Durban news editor against businessman Sbu Mpisane.

The charges relate to a phone call allegedly made to Mercury news editor Philani Makhanya relating to an investigation into Mpisane’s business dealings.

The threats were allegedly made when Makhanya contacted Mpisane to make arrangements for an interview.

It is believed that Mpisane had also sent Makhanya a threatening SMS.

Mpisane is no stranger to controversy. While working as a Metro policeman, he allegedly earned R15 000, but lived in a palatial home worth millions.

Mpisane, a well-known Durban businessman, made headlines recently with his lavish New Year’s Eve party where guests, including National Police Commissioner Bheki Cele, partied at Mpisane’s La Lucia mansion. According to a report in The Mercury, after Mpisane threatened Makhanya, he hinted at his relationship with Cele.

When contacted by The Witness, Makhanya said that he has been advised not to comment on the phone call or the intimidation charges.

“My lawyer has advised not to divulge any information about this matter,” he said.

The South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) has also expressed support for Makhanya on hearing of the intimidation charges.

Sanef Chairman Jovial Rantao said in a statement, “Interestingly, the prominent, high-spending businessman is a friend of Bheki Cele, the national commissioner of police.”

“As Angela Quintal, the editor of The Mercury says in her supporting affidavit, the newspaper, like all media, has ‘a special duty to uphold the principle of freedom of expression and to eliminate dishonesty, news suppression and censorship’,” the statement said.

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