Johannesburg - Newspaper reports following the suspension of the department of labour's director general, Jimmy Manyi, are mischievous, said Labour Minister Membathisi Mdladlana on Sunday.
Mdladlana was responding to a report in the Sunday Times that attributed Manyi's suspension to a KPMG forensic audit report that "unearthed massive fraud and corruption" in the department.
"Again, this is a classic example of statements that are devoid of any shred of truth which add deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars," Mdladlana said in a statement.
"It is totally incorrect for anyone to come up with unwarranted speculation and blatant lies related to the suspension," he said.
Mdladlana's spokesperson Page Boikanyo confirmed on Friday that Manyi had been suspended, but declined to give details and said the matter was "sub judice".
Manyi made headlines recently when Norway's ambassador to South Africa requested a meeting with Mdladlana to raise concerns about his conduct during an official meeting.
"There were certain things discussed and the way in which they were brought up in that meeting, we did not appreciate," Ambassador Tor Christian-Hilda told Sapa last Thursday.
Christian-Hilda and two other senior diplomats from the Norwegian mission met Manyi in Pretoria in early March to discuss Norway's cooperation with South Africa's Decent Work programme through the International Labour Organisation.
He said black economic empowerment policies were discussed at the meeting, but declined to elaborate further on his reasons for sending a diplomatic note to International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, from where the matter was passed on to Mdladlana.