“Sunday Times handlers out to get me” – Pule

"Sunday Times on a smear campaign": Dina Pule is accusing Sunday Times of trying to "blackmail" her. File photo/ Pic: GCIS
“Sunday Times on a smear campaign”: Dina Pule is accusing Sunday Times of trying to “blackmail” her. File photo/ Pic: GCIS

Johannesburg – Communications minister Dina Pule broke her silence today addressing all the allegations of mismanagement made against her in the media in recent months.

The minister then vowed she will be vindicated by parliamentary processes put in place to investigate these allegations.

“I have not sought to frustrate these processes in any way. I remain confident that I will be vindicated by these processes,” Pule told reporters at a press conference she called in Johannesburg.

“I have answered all the questions that the Ethics Committee requested me to answer. I will appear as directed before the Ethics Committee in parliament on the 2nd and 3rd of May,” Pule said.

Her comments follow a series of stories reported in the media, notably in The Sunday Times, linking the minister to irregular appointments and financial irregularities. In its latest report, the Sunday Times claimed Pule “blew” R2.6-million on a recruitment deal that led to the appointment of “cronies of her boyfriend, Phosane Mngqibisa,” to the boards of key parastatals.

But throughout the one hour thirty minute press conference, the minister outlined how she has felt as a victim of a smear campaign aimed at ruining her integrity. She accused the Sunday Times of waging a “highly sophisticated plot to blackmail” her.

“The Sunday Times handlers who are high profile business people and politicians thought that they could coerce me into a corner by threatening to make injurious revelations or accusations against me…they have not provided any thread of evidence that I have broken the law.

“Every allegation seemed to centre on the alleged boyfriend. The intention was to demonise me, turn the public opinion against me and intimidate me into not making certain decisions.”

Pule said she won’t sue the paper for damages but intends to take up the matter with the Press Ombudsman “as there had been many breaches” of the press code by the Sunday Times.

The Sunday Times knew there was no evidence of wrong doing on her part and if they do know, they must provide evidence, she said.

Pule also said she only knows Mgqibisa as a “comrade”.

The minister maintained that all she did was to instruct the Director General in the Department of Communications in a letter to ensure the filling of vacant posts and to fast track the appointment of a recruitment agency.

On allegations of impropriety, Pule said: “My letter does not instruct the Director General to appoint a specific recruitment agency nor does it seek determine which procurement method must be used by the department. The department is on the record stating that supply chain rules were indeed followed”.

She maintained that the newspaper’s reports have failed to link her to any wrong doing. – SAnews.gov.za