Daniel Friedman
5 minute read
19 Aug 2019
3:27 pm

Oliver Meth lodges formal complaint against colleague Piet Rampedi over CR17 ‘lies’

Daniel Friedman

The journalist alleges his involvement in the campaign resulted in the launching of a 'series of attacks, leaving me fearing for my life'.

Sunday Independent investigations editor Piet Rampedi. Picture: Screenshot (Soweto TV)

Meth is currently employed by the Sunday Tribune, while Rampedi is an investigative editor at the Sunday Independent.

Over the weekend, Meth addressed emails which have been circulating showing payments made to him by President Cyril Ramaphosa’s successful CR17 campaign for the ANC presidency.

“I’d like to place on record, that I worked as a media consultant on the campaign and was paid for services rendered, as a freelancer,” he said.

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Meth has been transparent about his involvement in CR17 before the emails began circulating, with his bio on Daily Maverick, which he has contributed to, stating that he worked as a “communications consultant” on the campaign.

In his complaint to Independent Media, which The Citizen has in its possession, he says he was also transparent about this during his application and subsequent employment at the publisher.

“During my application, appointment interviews and subsequently signing a contract with you, I have been fully transparent with the company and my colleagues about my previous employment and duties while serving as a freelance media consultant during 2017,” he writes.

Oliver Meth’s bio on Daily Maverick.

According to Meth, his involvement in the campaign resulted in Rampedi launching a “series of attacks, leaving me fearing for my life”.

“I find his conduct, particularly against another colleague, a violation of the company’s social media policy and code of conduct,” Meth writes in the complaint.

“His accusations against me, which I had been advised by my editor not to respond further to him and the trolls, have caused a sustained attack, with some Twitter users threatening to ‘necklace’ me, ‘teach you a lesson’ and with ex-convict Gayton McKenzie, weighing in by tweeting ‘…we are coming for all of you, mainly you @oliver_meth’ among many others intimidating me.”

Meth said Rampedi had made “wild allegations” about him being a “paid journalist” who accepted “bribes” from the CR17 campaign. He added that claims that he was a “paid journalist” for the Daily Maverick were “incorrect” and “based on slander”.

He further said that Rampedi claimed that he was not “impartial” or “objective” and accused him of having orchestrated an online campaign including pushing an anti-Zuma narrative. He said these claims had “tarnished” his reputation as a journalist.

“I feel Piet’s public attacks on my character and work ethic as a journalist are grounds for a subpoena in relation to his misconduct,” Meth’s complaint concludes.

READ MORE: Journalist Oliver Meth confirms CR17 payments

“Your email below is noted. Your complaint will be dealt with further via the company grievance procedure. I will be in contact with details of  the grievance meeting/hearing once coordinated,” said an Independent Media HR officer in response to the complaint.

Rampedi had not responded to requests for comment at the time of publication, but he did respond to a tweet in which Meth announced that he had laid a formal complaint against his colleague.

Rampedi said Meth was “lucky” he wasn’t his employer.

“I would have taken you straight to a DC for bringing the company into disrepute, and possibly fired you, before even listening to your stories, whataboutism and deflections. I am glad you reported me,” he added.

Earlier, Meth accused Rampedi of having failed to do “proper checks” as he was not aware that they were colleagues at Sunday Independent.

Rampedi responded on Twitter to a user who wondered if people should take him seriously, as he had “no idea” Meth was his colleague.

“Yes, the company employs more than 1,200 people. I don’t know each and every colleague especially those outside the [Johannesburg] office where I’m based. I’m shocked beyond words to know Oliver is actually my colleague. But it doesn’t change my views about him following” the leaked CR17 bank statements, Rampedi tweeted.

https://twitter.com/oliver_meth/status/1163411875079610373

Rampedi is the co-author of Sunday Independent’s recent report titled “How the CR17 campaign funds were channelled”. It was reported that the publication had seen the campaign’s bank records, as well as emails and financial statements which identified the beneficiaries of the “R1 billion” campaign fund, who according to the story were “politicians, campaign managers, and strategists” who “earned millions for their roles in Ramaphosa’s” successful CR17 campaign for the ANC presidency.

The report alleged that some of Ramaphosa’s main funders were numerous wealthy businesspeople, including Nicky Oppenheimer, Raymond Ackerman and Johnny Copelyn, who all reportedly gave millions to the campaign.

Rampedi is also one of the journalists behind now-discredited Sunday Times reports on the so-called Sars “rogue unit”. He parted ways with the Sunday Times after these reports were retracted and apologised for when the media ombudsman found them to be “inaccurate, misleading, and unfair”.

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