Sunday Independent editor Steve Motale says questions that he sent Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa regarding alleged “sex scandals” were not leaked by him.
Motale was speaking outside a courtroom at the Johannesburg High Court on Tuesday morning, where an urgent application was brought on Monday by a 29-year-old woman to prevent the publication from publishing her videos and pictures.
She is alleged to have had an extramarital affair with Ramaphosa, according to an online publication called Weekly Expose. Weekly Expose is owned by “sushi king” and businessman Kenny Kunene. Although Sunday Independent also ran with the story, they did not name her or upload any multimedia of her.
Motale said that he asked for Ramaphosa’s private email address by text message, because he thought his questions were of a personal and sensitive nature.
Motale said he knew that if he sent the questions to Ramaphosa’s work or business email address, they would be opened by a spokesperson or a personal assistant.
“There were two people who were in possession of those questions – it was me and the deputy president. I certainly did not leak those questions. There is no editor who would sabotage their own story like that.
“It will be very, very interesting to ask the deputy president his side of the story on this matter, as to how questions that were sent to an email address he assured me is his, how those questions ended up being leaked. I know the strategy…” he said.
‘We blurred them out of respect’
Motale said that the leak had resulted in a lot of publications reporting on the “sex scandal” two weeks ago.
Kunene, who entered the court with bodyguards, told News24 that he could not comment on the editorial decision behind publishing the woman’s name, as well as the video and picture.
“We believe that this matter is not urgent, but we believe that it is in the interest of the public that these videos be left on the website, Weekly Expose. We have done our bit, we blurred them out of respect,” he said.
The woman’s attorney, Nomaswazi Maseko, said that the fact that the woman’s face was blurred was inconsequential, as she was apparently still identifiable, and had already been approached in public by strangers.
A media publication has made an application to record the proceedings.
Maseko said that the woman’s family might also identify her if the media was allowed to go ahead and live stream the proceeding. The respondent did not object to the presence of the media.
Judge Raylene Keightley said that she would apply her mind on whether the media could be present when the proceedings get underway on Wednesday. — News24