/ 16 October 2007

Manto to address media ‘when the time comes’

Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang plans to speak out about media allegations that she is an alcoholic and a kleptomaniac.

”When the time comes this minister will speak out,” Tshabalala-Msimang said at a press conference at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto on Tuesday.

”I will not be pushed into a corner just because it is for public consumption.”

The minister said she had ”no feelings” about reports of police plans to arrest Sunday Times editor Mondli Makhanya and deputy managing editor Jocelyn Maker for the theft of her medical records.

”It has got nothing to do with my feelings. I have got no feelings about this. I wait for the issues to unfold.”

Tshabalala-Msimang was at the hospital with provincial health minister Brian Hlongwa to hand over baby bassinets.

This follows a media report earlier this month that showed newborn babies in the hospital being placed in cardboard boxes instead of cribs.

Code of ethics

Meanwhile, the Communications Workers’ Union (CWU) said on Monday that media regulating bodies have not yet done justice to the principles they were founded on and are struggling to locate themselves in a democratic South Africa.

It said industry bodies needed to uphold the idea of promoting responsible media that respected the rule of law.

”No media house should be allowed to violate the rule of law in their desire to satisfy commercial interest,” said CWU spokesperson Mfanafuthi Sithebe.

”Journalists must abide by the accepted code of ethics and laws of the country,” he said.

The Sunday Times obtained a confidential hospital file detailing Tshabalala-Msimang’s stay at a hospital in Cape Town in 2005.

Sithebe said although they fully supported freedom of speech as enshrined in the Constitution, they were opposed to unethical behaviour by journalists.

”As CWU we condemn any attempt by the media houses to behave like quasi-political opposition parties,” he said. – Sapa