Pule believes she will be vindicated

Communications Minister Dina Pule hit back at the Sunday Times and its journalists.

Communications Minister Dina Pule. Picture: GCIS"

JOHANNESBURG - Communications Minister Dina Pule has levelled serious accusations against the Sunday Times, claiming she is the victim of a sophisticated smear campaign involving blackmail, lies and powerful puppet masters.

The minister accused the paper of being used as a tool by powerful businessmen and politicians in a battle for a multi-million rand communication tender.

She has made front page news since June, with claims of corruption and nepotism being levelled against her.

Pule said negative publicity in the Sunday Times had more to do with a tender than her alleged misconduct.

She said reporter Mzilikazi wa Afrika told her he had to run the negative reports, although they were not true.

"He said he could not just let the story die because his comrades were already running the story."

Wa Afrika denied claims by Pule that he owned a company importing cheap cellphones from China.

But the minister insisted there was a crusade against her.

Pule said she was confident the Public Protector's probe into the reports and Parliament's ethics committee would vindicate her.

Sunday Times editor Phylicia Oppelt released a statement saying Pule should provide evidence that the paper was involved in a smear and blackmail campaign or apologise.