'What else has he lied about?' - DA after Mantashe backtracks on bribery claims

2019-11-01 15:51

Even though Gwede Mantashe said he lied about bribing Sunday World journalists to quash a story about his sex life, the DA still wants Parliament's ethics watchdog committee to investigate him.

The Sunday World published a story about a love triangle involving Mantashe, who is the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni and Lerato Habiba Makgatho.

The newspaper reported that Mantashe said he paid R70 000 to two of the newspaper's journalists to not publish the story.

However, he refused to name them and said the publication could go ahead and write the story as that was his comment.

On Tuesday morning, Mantashe denied the claims.

Then on Thursday, after meeting with Sunday World editor Makudu Sefara and the South African Editors Forum (Sanef), Mantashe said that while he told the newspaper that he bribed their journalists, he did not actually do it.

[Mantashe] neither met with nor paid any journalists. He retracts what he said," read the statement from his spokesperson, David Shabangu.

But DA spokesperson Kevin Mileham asked Parliament's Joint Committee on Ethics and Members' Interests to probe Mantashe.

On Friday, Mileham said the DA noted new reports indicating that Mantashe retracted his claims.

"Mantashe has now stated that he lied about bribing these members of the media. Such a turn of events is almost comical in nature, and even if the minister lied about the bribes, it is only an indication that he acted in an openly dishonest manner," Mileham said in a statement.

"It also begs the question, if Minister Mantashe has lied about this matter, what else has he lied about?"

He said the DA remained firm that Parliament's Joint Committee on Ethics and Members' Interests must investigate Mantashe's conduct.

"The fact that the minister is choosing to chop and change his words does not exempt him from the fact that allegations have been levelled against him and he still has a case to answer for. Where there is smoke there, more often than not, is a fire."

He said the DA also implored the Sunday World to continue with its investigation into this matter.

"As members of the executive, ministers must be held to the highest ethical standards and must provide ethical leadership to the people they serve. By claiming that he was involved in bribery or lying about bribes, 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' as per the Code of Ethical Conduct and Disclosure of Members' Interests of Parliament.

"South Africans deserve conduct of the highest calibre from members of national government. Lying about admissions of guilt with regards to bribing members of the media is hardly indicative of Mantashe's respect for the position he is in."

When journalists doorstopped him Tuesday after addressing the Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources and Energy, Mantashe didn't want to comment on the possibility of an ethics committee probe.

Read more on:    sunday world  |  da  |  gwede ­mantashe  |  cape town  |  corruption

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