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

Johannesburg - Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe has denied paying thousands of rands to journalists to bury a story about an alleged extramarital affair with a young woman.

A Sunday World report alleged that Mantashe, when contacted by the paper to comment on allegations that he was involved in an extramarital affair with a Pretoria-based student, revealed he had paid R70 000 for the story to be buried and he was not going to pay more money on the same story.

Since then, the SA National Editors Forum (Sanef) has urged Mantashe to reveal the names of the journalists he claimed to have bribed. The Presidency meanwhile, has distanced itself from the matter.

The Mineral Resources Department in a statement denied the allegations that he'd paid off journalists.

"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. 

"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," the department said.

The department maintained that Mantashe believes in "upholding the integrity of the media" and "media freedom".