The South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) says it has approached parliament’s Ethics Committee to hold Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe accountable for his bribery claims.
The editors’ forum said in a statement on Wednesday that it had written to the committee, asking it to hold a hearing into the matter.
Sanef said it noted that, to date, Mantashe had not apologised for his comments on bribing journalists at Sunday World newspaper.
In October, the Sunday World newspaper published a response from Mantashe, claiming that he had declined to answer their questions about a love triangle story involving him, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni and Lerato Habiba Makgatho.
The newspaper reported that Mantashe said he had 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.
After meeting with Sunday World editor Makudu Sefara and Sanef, Mantashe admitted that he had told the newspaper that he bribed their journalists, but that he had not actually done it.
“This is an extremely serious matter for Sanef, and we will continue to seek answers,” Sanef said on Wednesday.
“Finally, Sanef has followed up with members of Judge [Kathy] Satchwell’s independent Media Ethics and Credibility Inquiry,” Sanef said.
Sanef confirmed that they would be approaching Mantashe to make a submission at the inquiry.
Sanef said it believed that an apology to the journalist at Sunday World, the media house, the broader journalism profession and the people of South Africa was required from Mantashe.
“Sanef reiterates the fact that paid for or so-called ‘brown envelope’ journalism is 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,” it said.
Organisations or members of the public who have any evidence in the matter or any other ethical breaches in the media have been encouraged to make their submissions to the Satchwell Media Ethics and Credibility Inquiry.
The deadline for submissions has been extended to January 31, 2020.