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Booysen thanks 'Sunday Times' editor for coming clean on death squad reports

The editor penned an editorial on Sunday, in which he acknowledged the newspaper was used as part of a political project.

FIEL: Former KZN Hawks boss Johan Booysen.  Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN

PRETORIA/JOHANNESBURG - Former KwaZulu-Natal Hawks boss Johan Booysen has thanked Sunday Times editor Bongani Siqoko for finally admitting that the paper was used to advance an ulterior purpose.

The editor penned an editorial on Sunday, in which he acknowledged the newspaper was used as part of a political project.

Reports about the so-called Cato Manor death squad were used to suspend and criminally prosecute Booysen and more than two dozen subordinates. Booysen was investigating politically connected businessman Thoshan Panday.

Two of the reporters involved in that series of stories, Stefan Hofstatter and Mzilakazi wa Afrika, have parted ways with the paper.

_Sunday Times _editor Bongani Siqoko has admitted they committed mistakes and allowed themselves to be manipulated.

Booysen thanked the editor for coming clean.

“The first thing I want to do is acknowledge the courage the editor Bongani Siqoko has demonstrated in ventilating these issues in the media. I think it must have taken a lot of soul searching and commend him for that.”

Booysen and his former subordinates are still fighting to have the criminal cases against them withdrawn.

Meanwhile, the publication maintains it published the inaccurate articles because it had no reason to believe any of its journalists were being deliberately manipulated or bribed.

Deputy managing director at Tiso Blackstar's media division Moshoeshoe Monare explains: “Any allegations levelled against our journalists, especially those conducting investigative journalism or political news, we do take them seriously as it will impact on the paper’s credibility.”

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)

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