The Sunday World newspaper has rejected Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe denial that he paid bribes to two of its journalists to bury an article about his alleged extramarital affair.
However, in a statement Mantashe’s ministry said no bribery occurred.
“This past weekend, following a Sunday World report, various statements have been made about alleged bribery of journalists by Mr Mantashe, who is also the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy,” said the statement, issued by Moferefere Lekorotsoana, chief of staff in the Ministry of Mineral Resources and Energy.
"The statement attributed to him seems to have created an impression of him being involved in the act of bribery. Mr Mantashe is clear that none of the sort occurred.
“Further, attested to by the newspaper, there was no verification of these allegations prior to the publication of the story.
“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,” the statement concludes.
But Sunday World editor Makhudu Sefara has hit back, saying that he has recorded his conversation with Mantashe. He challenged the minister to take legal action against the newspaper.