South Africa woman denies being given as a 'wife gift'

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Hlaudi MotsoenengImage source, Eyewitness News
Image caption,
The SABC's Hlaudi Motsoeneng is alleged to have received the woman as a "gift"

A South African woman has denied she was given as a "gift" to a top official of the public broadcaster.

Vanessa Mutswari, 23, said the allegation risked ruining her plans to marry another man.

Earlier this month, The Sowetan paper reported that chiefs from the Venda ethnic group gave Ms Mutswari as a bride to the SABC's Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

The chiefs were part of a group asking for more programmes to be broadcast in the minority Venda language.

South Africa's Commission for Gender Equality launched an investigation last week into the reports that the SABC's acting chief operations officer had received a bride as a gift.

'Not a Venda tradition'

"I'm saying with my own mouth, I was not given to anybody," Ms Mutswari, speaking through an interpreter, told journalists.

"That is not Venda tradition. I'm proud of what I am and my culture," she added.

The Sowetan editor Mpumelelo Mkhabela said the paper stood by its story, South Africa's Mail and Guardian newspaper quotes him as saying.

According to The Sowetan, the Venda lobby group, Mudzi wa Vhurereli ha Vhavenda, had paraded 10 women before Mr Motsoeneng when he visited them in the northern Limpopo province.

He then chose the woman he liked, it reported.

A spokesperson for the Venda cultural group, Gladys Nethengwe, said the SABC - and not Mr Motsoeneng personally - had only been given a cow and a calf as a gift.

"You [the media] have destroyed us… We are worn out. Our hearts are bleeding for what you did," she said.

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