ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu says he is planning to take South African newspaper the Sunday Times to the press ombudsman for publishing a “blatantly untrue” report.
Mthembu’s assertion comes barely 24 hours; after the Sunday Times’ journalist Babalwa Ndenze dropped a story headlined “ANC wants new rule to protect president”.
The ruling party’s chief whip described the story as a wild and baseless claim; because he never intended changing Parliament’s rules to create measures to defend President Jacob Zuma against “abusive Members of Parliament”.
Furthermore, he claimed that he never mentioned such idea during the long interview he had with the journalist; and wondered where Ndenze manufactured such a misleading headline from.
“At no point during the long interview Ndenze had with the chief whip was such a remark made. The whole interview was put on tape, and Ndenze cannot produce any record proving that the chief whip indeed said those words.
Ndenze’s story is wholly based on sensationalized inventions; which he will have an impossible task to prove when the matter is reported to the press ombudsman this week,” Mthembu’s statement said.
ANC Chief Whip Jackson Mthembu Flaws Ndenze’s Report
Defending himself further, the ANC chief whip stressed that the letter he wrote to Parliament Rules Committee was a request to intensify the rules of Parliament; not an addition, as quoted by the journalist.
ANC Chief whip Jackson Mthembu categorically made it clear to all and sundry that he has no constitutional right to ask Parliament to amend or add a rule to protect President Zuma.
Nevertheless, he asked the Sunday Times to publicly withdraw the allegations and also apologise for falsifying the interview.
“The office of the ANC chief whip will this week lodge a formal complaint with the press ombudsman to ensure that the Sunday Times publish a retraction and an apology regarding the unfair and damaging fabrications contained in Ndenze’s story,” Mthembu insisted.
Earlier this month, the DA criticized proposed plans to lavish taxpayers funds on security upgrades in the National Assembly.
The proposed measures follow EFF MPs’ reoccurred security breaches in Parliament; especially in May when they displayed high levelled hostility towards President Zuma in the National Assembly chambers during the Parliamentary question session.