Pule claims Sunday Times is against her

The Communications Minister says the publication is waging a smear campaign against her.

Communications Minister Dina Pule. Picture: GCIS

JOHANNESBURG - Press Ombudsman Johan Retief on Monday said his office would investigate claims by the Communications Department that the Sunday Times newspaper was waging a campaign against its minister, Dina Pule.

Pule's officials claim the paper has given documents to Democratic Alliance (DA) politicians after it reported it had proof that she had been giving contracts to Phosane Mngqibisa, who it claims is her romantic partner.

Retief said he had a received a formal complaint from Communications head Wisani Ngobeni, who has complained about the conduct of the Sunday Times.

Ngobeni, who is a former Sunday Times journalist, is now a spokesperson in the Communications Department.

Pule claimed the publication was waging war against her because its reporters were working for people involved in the digital television industry and because Sunday Times reporters were being paid by people in the television industry.

The newspaper said it had proof Pule was allowing her partner to influence the distribution of contracts, some of which went to people close to him.

It also added it believed the department's complaint against it was "white noise" designed to distract from the major issues.

The newspaper's Susan Smuts said, "We think it's a great deal of white noise and they are trying to detract from the fact that Dina Pule has misconducted herself time and time again. That's really where the big focus should be."