South Africa’s Minister of Communications Dina Pule has lodged a formal complaint with the Press Ombudsman over the weekend in relation to the alleged smear campaign against her by the Sunday Times newspaper.
Pule’s comments stem from allegations made by South African newpaper The Sunday Times, where the paper claims to have evidence of extravagant spending by the Communications Minister.
The newspaper has in the past published a number of articles regarding the Minister, and also claimed that her partner Phosane Mngqibisa orchestrated the appointment of his relative, Lulama Makhoba, to the post of the South African Broadcasting Corporation’s CEO.
“The Sunday Times continues to publish false allegations against Minister Pule. This is despite the ongoing processes by the Parliament’s Ethics Committee and the Public Protector. The Sunday Times seems hell-bent on influencing the outcomes of these processes. The latest fabricated story was published by the Sunday Times on 5 May 2013 in which the newspaper claimed that Minister Pule had sent a lawyer and a government official to apologise to the Sunday Times,” the Department of Communications said in a statement.
The Department also stressed the point that the Minister has not apologised to the newspaper. “For the record, Minister Pule has not apologised to the Sunday Times, and has no intention to do so. The individuals mentioned by the Sunday Times do not represent Minister Pule. The Sunday Times even went further to allege that one of the individuals concerned is Minister Pule’s lawyer. This is false,” the statement continued.
Calling the editor foolish, the Department launched into the newspaper, saying that they failed to check their facts before publishing the article in question. “Sunday Times editors foolishly published the story without even checking the facts. Shockingly, the Sunday Times reported about this without even seeking a response from Minister Pule on the specific allegations. This is a fabrication which is consistent with what the Sunday Times has been doing for many months. It is another example of shoddy journalism which has become a norm at the Sunday Times. Minister Pule did not request anyone to represent her,” the statement concluded.