Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe. File photo: Jacques Naude/African News Agency (ANA).

The South African National Editors Forum (Sanef) has joined the Gwede Mantashe fray, piling pressure on him to name the two Sunday World journalists he allegedly paid off to ditch a story about an alleged relationship with a young woman.

In a story carried by Sunday World newspaper on Sunday, Mantashe, when contacted by the paper to comment on allegations that he was involved in an extramarital affair with a certain high flying Pretoria-based student, he allegedly said he paid R70 000 for the story to be buried and he was not going to pay more money on the same story.

The allegations drew the ire of the forum, which on Sunday quickly issued a statement and lambasted Mantashe. 

In the statement Sanef said brown envelope journalism is completely counter to journalism ethics and Mantashe's conduct was worrisome as he is a senior political figure.

It said it would be taking this matter up. 

“As a result of these shocking allegations, SANEF will be pursuing the following actions:  Writing to the Minister to request that he reveals the names of the journalists involved; supporting @SundayWorldZA ’s investigations into the matter. Supporting @SundayWorldZA ’s commitment to ensuring that all Sunday World journalists sign pledges to ensure ethical journalism,” the forum said in the statement.

The forum further said it was going to add a specific clause to its “draft rules of engagement” with political parties to call for politicians to support an outright ban on any form of “brown envelope” journalism.

“Sanef champions ethical journalism. We believe that if anyone has ANY evidence of unethical journalism – including the very serious breach of accepting funds for journalism – they should go to the Press Council.”

Before the forum’s statement, Mantashe was roasted by the spokesperson of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), Mbuyiselo Ndlozi, who said it was very concerning that Mantashe bribed journalists.

“Minister @GwedeMantashe1 just admitted to bribery of  @SundayWorldZA journalists not to publish his “Tiger” story. I really don’t care much on the private life of the man. What should concern us is bribery of journalists. He must hand himself to the police & release the names!” Ndlozi tweeted on Sunday morning. 

Political Bureau