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10 May 2013 16:46
Communications Minister Dina Pule. (Gallo)
"For the record, minister Pule has not apologised to the Sunday Times, and has no intention to do so," department spokesperson Siyabulela Qoza said in a statement on Friday.
He was responding to an article published in the newspaper on May 5. According to the paper, less than 24 hours after Pule’s press conference, her lawyer Ronnie Bokwa contacted the newspaper and said he had been instructed to broker an "armistice".
Attorney Ronnie Bokwa allegedly told the newspaper that Pule's right-hand man, deputy director general Themba Phiri, contacted him on the day of the news conference to broker an "armistice".
"He told me things were placed in the public space by the minister that should not have been placed in the public domain ... We have wronged the Sunday Times," Bokwa was quoted as saying.
Qoza said the individuals mentioned in the article did not represent Pule.
"The Sunday Times even went further, to allege that one of the individuals concerned is minister Pule's lawyer.
This is false," he said.
"Sunday Times editors foolishly published the story without even checking the facts. Sunday Times reported about this without even seeking a response from minister Pule on the specific allegations."
Smear and blackmail campaign
Qoza said Pule did not ask anyone to represent her.
Sunday Times editor Phylicia Oppelt could not immediately be reached for comment.
At the press conference on April 22, Pule claimed the newspaper wrote a series of articles about her as part of a smear and blackmail campaign.
She alleged that businesspeople linked to the newspaper had a vested interest in trying to secure a multibillion-rand set-top-box tender and were willing to do anything to get it.
Set-top-boxes are required for the move from analogue to digital TV broadcasting.
Pule said high-profile businesspeople and politicians tried to force her into making decisions in their favour.
She detailed several stories written about her which, she claimed, sought to project her as a corrupt minister who could be bribed with a pair of shoes.
She also allegedly gave tenders to a boyfriend, meddled in tender processes and interfered in the appointment of officials to the boards of state-owned enterprises. – Sapa
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