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Durban - Claims of threats by a government spin doctor against a Pietermaritzburg-based journalist should be investigated, the Democratic Alliance said on Tuesday.
The Witness newspaper reported that staffer Chris Ndaliso was threatened by transport, community safety and liaison spokesperson Bheki Mncube while investigating a story about VIP escorts who allegedly bullied a motorist.
"Ndaliso's question as to whether the vehicle was owned by the department must have touched a nerve because Mncube launched into an unwarranted diatribe,” said DA member of the legislature, Sizwe Mchunu.
He said Mncube had warned the reporter not to publish the vehicle's registration details.
"The incident comes after a heated debate on the use of blue lights was held in the legislature last week."
MEC 'defensive' during debate
Mchunu said transport MEC Willies Mchunu was defensive during the debate and had refused to acknowledge there were instances where blue lights were being abused.
"The press are fully entitled to investigate any allegation made. If Mncube is indeed guilty of having threatened this journalist, we call for the proper disciplinary measures to be imposed."
Mncube was not immediately available to comment.
VIP escorts for members of the legislature, mayors and other senior government officials had been accused of bullying motorists in various incidents.
SA Police Service VIP escort, Constable Hlanganani Nxumalo was arrested for allegedly shooting at a car on the N3 highway near Pietermaritzburg on December 15 2008.
He was charged with six counts of attempted murder