Communications minister Dina Pule (bdlive.co.za)
HumanIPO reported last month on a press conference held by Pule is which she alleged The Sunday Times was running a “smear campaign” against her, claims the newspaper denied.
The newspaper reported today Pule’s lawyer, Ronnie Bokwa, had been sent to apologise for her claims less than 24 hours after the press conference, at the behest of communications department deputy general director Themba Phiri.
“He told me things were placed in the public space by the minister that should not have been placed in the public domain. We have wronged the Sunday Times,” the newspaper reported Bokwa as saying.
Sunday Times journalist Mzilikazi Wa Afrika, one of the reporters alleged by Pule to be running the “smear campaign”, Bokwa contacted him to broker a “peace process”. When asked if he had been sent to apologise for and retract Pule’s comments, Bokwa is quoted as saying: “This was my perception of what my mandate was.”
The newspaper reports Pule has been asked to apologise in person to the journalists, though she has since scheduled and missed two meetings. The Sunday Times has since written to Pule’s lawyer demanding a withdrawal of the comments and an apology, giving her until Friday, May 10 to respond.
Meanwhile, the newspaper has also printed what it claims is new evidence of Pule’s lies, reporting they have two witnesses who have testified that Phosane Mngqibisa is her boyfriend, a claim which the minister has repeatedly denied.
Four diplomats said Mngqibisa was treated as the minister’s romantic partner during three international trips.
Mngqibisa is central to the allegations of misconduct by Pule and the parliamentary ethics committee’s investigation against her.