Mantashe bribery claims: 'Parliament must probe minister over allegedly paying journalists to squash sex story'

2019-10-28 22:09
Gwede Mantashe. (Gallo)

Gwede Mantashe. (Gallo)

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The DA has asked Parliament’s Joint Committee on Ethics and Members' Interests to probe conduct relating to Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe and claims that he bribed two journalists.

The threats came after recent media reports that Mantashe had acknowledged to the Sunday World newspaper that he paid two of its journalists R70 000 to make a story about his personal life "disappear". 

DA energy and mineral resources spokesperson Kevin Mileham said Mantashe had essentially admitted to bribing two journalists, and that it was clearly an admission of guilt for which he needed to be held accountable.

"His comments are in violation of the Code of Ethical Conduct and Disclosure of Members' Interests of Parliament, which states that a Member is in breach of the Code if he or she, amongst other clauses, contravenes section 4.1 of the Code," said Mileham. 

READ: Tiso Blackstar 'shocked' over allegations that Mantashe bribed journalists

Mileham said that, as Members of Parliament, ministers had to be held to a high standard and should provide ethical leadership to the people they served.

"By admitting to paying off two journalists, the minister did not act 'in accordance with the public trust placed in [him]', nor did he 'maintain public confidence and trust in the integrity of Parliament'. If one is ethically comfortable with giving a bribe, it begs to question whether the same individual would find it ethically permissible to accept a bribe?

"This becomes worrying when it becomes evident that the individual at the cornerstone of such claims is in charge of South Africa’s nuclear plans, mineral resources and energy. Furthermore, both the minister and the implicated journalists may have contravened Section 3 of the Prevention and Combatting of Corrupt Activities Act," Mileham said.

The party said it welcomed the newspaper's investigation into the matter and hoped that it holds the implicated journalists to account.

The DA called for strong action to be taken against the journalists.

"Equally, we hope that Parliament’s Ethics Committee will investigate the case against Mantashe with the urgency and gravity it deserves. Brown envelope journalism should be frowned upon and those who indulge in such transactions must be held accountable for their actions.

"It is unacceptable for a member of Cabinet to bribe the media, or individual journalists, regardless of the story or occasion. South Africans deserve a free and fair media, which provides unbiased content free from bribes and corruption," Mileham said.

Attempt to get comment from the Presidency by News24 were unsuccessful.

Meanwhile, IOL reported that presidential spokesperson Khusela Diko had referred all questions to Mantashe's office.

Read more on:    sunday world  |  da  |  anc  |  gwede ­mantashe  |  media  |  bribery allegations
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