This week the Sunday Sun has exceeded even the lowest and objectionable of standards imaginable in gutter journalism. To describe its story on Minister Muthambi as utter rubbish is an understatement.
For the paper to deliver shock to readers' systems it has to rely on the most outrageous fabrications. The more improbable the story the better seems to be its modus operandi. The Minister has responded, through her spokesperson, that she doesn't have a relationship with Mr Liremi as alleged by the newspaper. It is unfortunate that the newspaper ignored to publish the response that was furnished.
The concoction of lies relies on bringing four useful ingredients to create an explosive Molotov cocktail. First is an ambitious name dropper, second is an undisguised political agenda that is linked to the succession contest in the ANC, third is the use of imaginary or unnamed sources and fourth a paper that has to deliver the staple diet of 'shock and awe'.
Unfortunately Minister has no control on all of the above. As National Minister, Minister Muthambi interacts with almost every citizen. She has no foresight that any of her innocent interactions will be abused for personal gain as is evidently the case.
It is unfortunate that her picture, which she used for weeks on her instant messaging profile was even used to try and authenticate this fabricated story.
While no exposition of lies will bring justice to the Minister, it is perhaps necessary to put the record straight.
A simple basic research would have exposed the un-sustainability of the narrative the paper tried to craft.
First, as a National Minister, Minister Muthambi has no power or authority to influence what takes place at the provincial departments, let alone to participate in the tendering processes.
Secondly, the Public Finance Management Act makes it illegal for Executive Authorities to involve themselves in operational matters such as tenders. These are functions and responsibilities that fall within the powers of a head of a department as Accounting Officer.
Third, it is a matter of public record that the two departments Minister led have received unqualified audits for the last 3 years. This means that the departments could account for every cent spent while she presided over them.
Evidently these basic facts are inconvenient for those who had decided that the Minister should be dragged into the mud.
Minister draws comfort from the knowledge that "If people are trying to bring you DOWN, it only means that you're above them".
It is perhaps necessary to indicate that the story is false in every aspect. Minister has never stayed in any hotel in Sandton. Minister meets people in her job on a daily basis. Such meetings also involve photo opportunities which by and large are harmless.
Whatever information the paper may gather, there is nothing amiss about how she conducts matters of the State.
The Sunday Sun has again proved itself as the undisputed holder of the title of gutter journalism. Its latest story about the Minister must disabuse anyone of the notion that the media can self-correct.
Issued by: Department of Public Service and Administration