EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu took to Twitter to accuse The Sunday Times of being “the number 1 distributor of fake news”.
But while the newspaper’s reports on a Sars rogue unit were withdrawn following the press ombudsman finding they were “unfair” and “inaccurate”, Shivambu felt these reports were “truthful”.
Shivambu has expressed his view that the withdrawn rogue unit reports were, in fact, true. In a rambling paranoid blog post, he makes several allegations against Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan.
He accuses the publication of withdrawing its “truthful” reports on the rogue unit while “persistently” writing articles based on their “factional imagination (sic)” – Shivambu likely meant “fictional”, citing a report about former Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) acting CEO Collins Letsoalo as an example.
Letsoalo has announced his intention of suing The Sunday Times for R20 million for fraud and defamation after the press ombudsman found the article included false information both in its headline and in the article itself. He added that the publication must apologise and retract the article.
The article included two inaccuracies, that the auditor-general had issued a “special report” on the matter, and that he had ordered Letsoalo must pay back money to Prasa. Both of these inaccuracies were referenced in the headline, Pay it back, AG tells Prasa’s 350% boss – Special audit finds that Collins Letsoalo was not due the hefty raise he gave himself.
Shivambu was responding to a tweet from columnist, accountant, and former Wits lecturer Khaya Sithole taking Sunday Times editor Bongani Siqoko to task for a story on TimesLive which reported that the Constitutional Court had made a ruling against public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane.
The newspaper was possibly referring to the high court’s setting aside of her Bankorp-Ciex report, which found Absa Bank should pay R1.125 billion over an apartheid bailout paid to Bankorp (which later became Absa) by the South African Reserve Bank (Sarb) during apartheid.
While the ConCourt will hear Mkhwebane’s appeal regarding the ruling, the court itself has not yet ruled against her.
Sithole accused the publication of “lying” about the Constitutional Court.