Mantashe denies paying journos R70,000 to bury story about alleged affair

The Sunday World reported this weekend that Gwede Mantashe paid the journalists R70,000 in exchange for not publishing a story about his alleged love triangle involving a young woman, along with Finance Minister Tito Mboweni.

FILE: Gwede Mantashe's office said the claims made were never verified prior to the story being published and said he believed in upholding media integrity and freedom. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe on Monday denied paying hush money to journalists over a story about an alleged extra-marital affair.

The Sunday World reported this weekend that Mantashe paid the journalists R70,000 in exchange for not publishing a story about his alleged love triangle involving a young woman, along with Finance Minister Tito Mboweni.

There have since been calls for President Cyril Ramaphosa to crack the whip on Mantashe and for the names of the journalists allegedly involved to be revealed.

In a statement, the minister’s office said the claims made were never verified prior to the story being published and said he believed in upholding media integrity and freedom.

“Mr Mantashe is clear that none of the sorts occurred. Mr Mantashe, both in his personal capacity and that of being the executive authority, believes in upholding the integrity of the media; and media freedom.”

Meanwhile, the South African National Editor's Forum (Sanef) said it would be writing to Mantashe, asking him to reveal the names of the two journalists.

Sanef condemned this and said it was shocking. It said it would be supporting the publication in its investigation into the story.

The organisation’s Kate Skinner said: “It’s very important that we know who these journalists are because we have to stamp out this unethical behaviour.”

Sanef also said it intended adding a clause to its draft rules of engagement with political parties, to call for politicians to support a ban on any form of brown envelope journalism.