Sekunjalo will pursue its complaints against Sunday Times and Cape Times through Press Ombudsman

Company says it has withdrawn criminal charges against former newspaper, and its legal action against the latter

Communique from Sekunjalo Investments Limited, the JSE Public Listed Company

Sekunjalo has decided to pursue its complaints about the conduct of journalists of the Sunday Times and the Cape Times with the Press Ombudsman rather than in the courts. The details of the action the company proposes to take in this regard are below:

Withdrawal of criminal charges against the Sunday Times newspaper & complaint to Press Ombudsman

Sekunjalo has notified the SAPS that it does not persist with its criminal complaint against the Sunday Times which was lodged with the SAPS on 3 December 2013.

The company has decided to pursue the complaint of the contravention of section 7(2) of the Public Protector Act 23 of 1994 with the Press Ombudsman rather than by way of a criminal complaint.

To recap, the Sunday Times had published reports of the Public Protector in contravention of the express prohibition in section 7 of the Public Protector Act.

The Sunday Times would know that the Public Protector Act provides for a process to allow affected parties to  comment on the content  of a draft provisional  report, dealing with any adverse findings or negative implications in the report before it is finalised and published by the Public Protector.

The complaint against the Sunday Times covers other aspects too arising from the articles which appeared in the edition of 1 December 2013.

The Sunday Times reports suggest that the company had obtained improper benefits through gross misconduct, deceit, unlawful acts and outright corruption.

The articles in the Sunday Times were unfair, untruthful and inaccurate and hence the Press Council has been requested to adjudicate on these complaints.

Action against Melanie Gosling and Alide Dasnois

Sekunjalo demanded an apology from the editor of the Cape Times, Alide Dasnois and the environment writer of the paper, Melanie Gosling, in a letter dated 7 December 2013, failing which the company said it would issue summons against the individuals and the newspaper, and lodge a complaint with the Press Ombudsman for breaches of the Press Code.

The company has decided to press ahead with a complaint with the Press Ombudsman only.

The company trusts that the Press Ombudsman will deal fairly and swiftly with its complaint.

Broader complaint to Press Ombudsman

The company will also request the Press Ombudsman to investigate separately the targeted and sustained attack on its integrity by various newspapers over the past two years.

Statement issued by Khalid Abdulla,  Sekunjalo Investments Limited CEO, December 13 2013

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