Johannesburg – The ANC Women's League on Wednesday criticised a newspaper report which claimed that its president, Bathabile Dlamini, was drunk while addressing a gala dinner in Germiston.
"The article seeks to undermine the President of the ANCWL and is a smear campaign to discredit her," the league said in a statement.
It asked The Citizen newspaper to retract the article, which appeared online, and to apologise to Dlamini.
The Citizen's digital editor Charles Cilliers said the publication featured an article which originally appeared in the Daily Sun. He said he did not know how the ANCWL had overlooked this fact.
"We read the Daily Sun, like everyone else in South Africa. We read the allegations that she was drunk while giving speeches and thought it was interesting," he said.
According to the article, Dlamini was unsteady on her feet. The ANCWL, however, said she was sober and had stood throughout her address on challenges facing the league’s young women’s desk.
The ANCWL threatened to take The Citizen to the Press Ombudsman if it failed to take responsibility for the issue.
Daily Sun editor Reggy Moalusi said the paper did its due diligence before publishing the story.
"We were fair to the minister. We called for comment. We spoke to her spokesperson, Lumka Oliphant."
He said Oliphant’s response was included in the story.