Ex-Sunday Times journo apologises to former Sars exec for apartheid spy smear

Malcolm Rees began his apology by saying he has seen recent media reports branding Johann Van Loggerenberg as an apartheid-era spy.

FILE: Johann van Loggerenberg addresses the media outside the Hawks building. Picture: Thomas Holder/Eyewitness News.

Eyewitness News would like to issue an apology to Mr Malcolm Rees for the errors contained in a previous version of this article. We express regret and have since corrected the errors.

JOHANNESBURG - Former Sunday Times senior journalist Malcolm Rees has issued a lengthy apology to former South African Revenue Services (Sars) executive Johann van Loggerenberg.

In his apology, Rees denies ever branding Van Loggerenberg as a former apartheid police agent.

In a letter to Van Loggerenberg, Rees began his apology by saying that he had seen recent media reports surfacing claiming that Van Loggerenberg was an apartheid-era spy.

Rees said that the claim had appeared in a Sunday Times article published in 2014 under his by-line, titled Love Affair rocks Sars.

Of the claim, Rees, in his apology, said that "I did not, and do not, believe this'. He added that the statement had been edited into his final draft after it had left his then-direct editor Rob Rose's inbox, hours before it went to print.

"Although I did not author the unsubstantiated smear, I would once again like to unreservedly apologise to you, and to extend that apology to your family, for the significant harm that being publicly branded in such a manner has caused,” Rees said.

He said he looked forward to the Sanef panel into media and state capture.

Van Loggerenberg has since accepted the apology.