The SA National Editors' Forum (Sanef) on Monday issued a statement on Monday, backing the Sunday Times on the reporting of of allegations against Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang.

The release said, "Information concerning Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang has come into the possession of The Sunday Times".

"SANEF believes that this media institution would have, prior to publication, taken sufficient steps to ensure that the information was true. The Sunday Times would have also deemed the publication of the information to be in the public interest".

"SANEF supports the right of any editor to publish information that he/she believes to be truthful and to be in the public interest".

"SANEF is opposed to the willful, malicious and vindictive violation of privacy of individuals, especially when it concerns children and family".

"SANEF respects the individual's right to privacy, except where it conflicts clearly with public interest. The revelations concerning the minister of health falls clearly in the domain of public interest".

"However, in this particular instance, there are legal processes underway and calls being made for a more structured investigation by government into the veracity of the allegations. SANEF hopes that minister will take the challenge to prove the reports right or wrong".

"At the same time, SANEF respects the right of the minister, in this instance, to take up any concerns with the editor of the publication concerned. If she is not happy with the outcome, she could approach the office of the Press Ombudsman".