South African Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe has denied bribing journalists to withhold a story about his sex life, TimesLive reports.
In a story published by the Sunday World newspaper at the weekend, Mantashe was quoted as saying he paid the journalists R70,000.
The journalists apparently had to withhold a story about a love triangle involving him, finance minister Tito Mboweni and Lerato Habiba Makgatho.
Several South African news outlets are carrying a statement by Moferefere Lekorotsoana, chief of staff in the ministry of mineral resources and energy, which says: “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 before 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.”