/ 9 February 2009

Motlanthe: No legal action against ‘pregnant’ lie

President Kgalema Motlanthe on Sunday indicated he will not take legal action against a woman who falsely claimed the president had impregnated her.

Briefing the media at Tuynhuys in Cape Town, Motlanthe said he would not have the time to pursue the legal route.

”I think I have more than enough on my plate to be dealing with that. I … will drop a line to the press ombudsman — he has the time, authority and responsibility to look into those kinds of indiscretions,” he said.

The Independent Newspapers on Sunday reported that Kelebogile Mmokwa, the 24-year-old woman who claimed Motlanthe had impregnated her, had withdrawn her claims, confessing she deliberately fed reporters with lies.

The African National Congress (ANC) slammed the media organisations that had published the allegations.

ANC spokesperson Carl Niehaus on Sunday called the allegations ”an indication of how low some media organisations are prepared to stoop in the name of public interest”.

On Sunday the Sunday Independent ran an article in which Mmokwa said her story was a fabrication. When asked why she had lied, Mmokwa reportedly said: ”I told you what you wanted to hear”.

”[This] is a clear demonstration of how glibly media accepts information as facts if it goes to satisfy the agenda of some newspaper editors and owners,” said Niehaus.

”Not only is this practice unethical but it goes to show a lack of objectivity, bias and an intent to harm the good image of respected leaders of the calibre of Kgalema Motlanthe.

”The ANC deplores this practice which gives journalism a bad name,” said Niehaus.

Niehaus called for an investigation by the press ombudsman and the South African National Editors Forum.

Rumours of Motlanthe’s relationship were stoked after DJ T-Bose’s show on Kaya FM on January 30, which featured a dedication of 10 songs by a woman who called herself ”Lebo Makoe”.

”People find love in the strangest of places — I never thought I would fall in love with a man like that,” was what Makoe said of her ”mystery man” during her on-air dedication.

T-Bose asked her: ”Is this the same Kelobogile Makoe who was named as one of the two women reportedly involved with South African president Kgalema Motlanthe?”

”No comment,” Makoe said, but did offer that her ”mystery man” is a ”Cancerian and Tswana, but has Pedi blood”. — Sapa, audio courtesy of The Times