Minister in the Presidency Essop Pahad is considering stopping the
government's advertising in the Sunday Times, which has been under fire
over its reports on Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang's
conviction for theft 31 years ago, writes Sibusiso Ngalwa in The Star.

Pahad had expressed "his personal views about withdrawing advertising", presidential spokesperson Mukoni Ratshitanga said.

"The minister in the presidency holds a strong view that in the light of Sunday Times reports on Tshabalala-Msimang and other reporting which, in his view, is sensationalist and deliberate miscommunication of the views and position of government, then the government must not advertise in the Sunday Times.

"This is the minister's personal view, it is not a government decision or consideration."

Themba Maseko, head of Government Communication and Information System (GCIS), which is responsible for state advertising, also confirmed that the government could stop advertising in the Sunday Times.

"It is true… Pahad says he wants it to be done, so it is most likely to happen," he said.

Pahad is political head of the GCIS and the government spends millions of rands in advertising – mainly appointments – in Sunday papers.

Maseko said, however, that the matter had not been discussed by the cabinet this week.

Prakash Desai, chief executive officer of Johncom, publisher of the Sunday Times, expressed surprise and dismay at Pahad's stance, saying the minister had not raised the matter with him or later with Sunday Times editor Mondli Makhanya.

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