Sanef has called on Mineral Affairs Minister Gwede Mantashe to apologise for falsely claiming that he paid R70 000 in bribes to Sunday World journalists. Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency (ANA)

Cape Town - The South African National Editors Forum has called on Mineral Affairs Minister Gwede Mantashe to apologise for falsely claiming that he paid R70 000 in bribes to Sunday World journalists.

This comes after the editor of the Sunday World Makhudu Sefara was forced to subject his staff to lie-detector tests. 

Sanef met with Mantashe on Thursday to discuss the allegations. After the meeting, Mantashe confirmed that he had stated that he had bribed journalists, but denied bribing them. He insists there was never a meeting with the paper’s journalists and an exchange of money. 

Mantashe also said that he will subject himself to the full processes of the Kathy Satchwell Inquiry into Media Ethics and Credibility to explain the circumstances that led to him making the statement.

"As Sanef we reiterated the damage the allegations have done to not only the Sunday World but to the whole industry. 'Paid for' or so-called 'brown envelope' is gutter journalism, and an assault to media ethics," said Sanef in a statement. 

Sefara said the allegations have created a reputational crisis for the weekly paper, but also caused pain and trauma in the lives of the journalists. 

Sanef has urged Mantashe to make a statement under oath when he approaches the Satchwell commission.

IOL