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Sanef launches probe into 'Sunday Times' scandal

The weekly admitted this week that articles on the so-called Cato Manor death squad were part of a tainted scoops series in 2011 and have turned out to be largely false.

Copies of the 'Sunday Times' newspaper. Picture: @SiqokoST/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - The South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) has commissioned an investigation into editorial integrity following a meeting with the Tiso Blackstar management in light of the scandal at the Sunday Times.

The weekly admitted this week that articles on the so-called Cato Manor death squad were part of a tainted scoops series in 2011 and have turned out to be largely false.

LISTEN: 'Some reporters think of themselves as stars'

The reports were used to suspend and criminally prosecute former KwaZulu-Natal Hawks boss Johan Booysen and more than two dozen subordinates.

Reporters Stephan Hofstatter and Mzilikazi wa Afrika have left the Sunday Times over their role in the scandal.

Johan Booysen has, meanwhile, thanked Sunday Times editor Bongani Siqoko for finally admitting that the paper was used to advance an ulterior purpose. 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Booysen and his former subordinates are still fighting to have the criminal cases against them withdrawn.

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 explained: “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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