The ruling African National Congress (ANC) on Sunday denied a newspaper report that the ANC wants new rules to protect President Jacob Zuma.
The Sunday Times quoted ANC Chief Whip Jackson Mthembu as saying in an interview that the ANC "wants to change parliament's rules to create new measures to defend Zuma against abusive MPs before his next visit to the National Assembly".
"The Office of the ANC Chief Whip in Parliament" is disappointed with the downright dishonest fabrications and shoddy journalism", spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said.
"This is blatantly untrue," Mothapo said, adding that at no point during the interview, such a remark was made.
The Sunday Times reporter, Babalwa Ndenze, cannot produce any record proving that the Chief Whip indeed said those words, said Mothapo.
"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," the spokesperson said.
In response to Ndenze's question seeking the ANC Caucus' view on the disruptions that broke out during president's appearance in Parliament to reply to questions, the Chief Whip emphasized the need for all parties to commit to the supremacy of the House rules and the importance of enforcing the existing rules to deal with disruptive elements.
Zuma has been disrupted several times by opposition MPs during Q&A sessions in Parliament. Recently, the National Assembly adopted new overhauled set of rules, which, amongst others, deal with disruptive conduct and provide comprehensive guide regarding appropriate steps to be taken against unruly MPs.
"It is therefore inconceivable that the Chief Whip would have called for a new rule to deal with what is already thoroughly provided for in the existing newly adopted rules," Mothapo said.
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, said Mothapo.