Journalist and author Jacques Pauw, best known for writing The President’s Keepers about Jacob Zuma and those alleged to have kept him in power, has written a column in The Daily Maverick saying that The Sunday Times should be made to face not only deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo’s commission of inquiry into state capture but the Nugent commission of inquiry into Sars as well.
Pauw alleges that the newspaper’s investigation unit “played a crucial role in the destruction of the Hawks and Sars”.
He also wrote that the Sunday Times reporting on the alleged “rogue units” was arguably the worst journalism that has ever been perpetrated in this country.
The column also asks three questions surrounding The Sunday Times’s investigations on an alleged Sars “rogue unit” that have been largely discredited.
- “Why did the former editor-in-chief of South Africa’s biggest and mightiest newspaper allegedly insert a paragraph into a story that a top SARS executive was an apartheid spy – which was false?”
- “Why was then Sunday Times editor Phylicia Oppelt intent on smearing the name of former SARS investigations head Johann van Loggerenberg in August 2014?”
- “Why did a State Security Agency (SSA) spy dictate to Oppelt when to expose Van Loggerenberg as allegedly having leaked the confidential tax information of Jacob Zuma and Julius Malema and being the lover of a paid spy?”
The attempts of one of the journalists involved in the “rogue unit” reports, Stephan Hofstatter, to launch his new book License to Loot last week were met with disruption from protesters seeking to take him to task over his role in documenting an alleged Sars “rogue unit”.
His reporting was found not to be fully accurate and some felt it saw him side with those allegedly responsible for state capture. The “rogue unit” allegations are believed to have been used as a pretext to appoint Tom Moyane at Sars and saw many valued members of staff resigning.
Hofstatter was one of several journalists who documented the alleged “rogue unit” in 2014 and 2015.
Hofstatter was met at Love Books in Melville with protesters holding placards with slogans such as “when did you switch from pro-corruption to anti-corruption” and “State capture crony. Profits from helping capture the state. Then dishonestly profits from state capture resistance”.
Reports in The Sunday Times regarding the “rogue unit” were found to be “inaccurate, misleading, and unfair” by the press ombudsman and the newspaper was forced to apologise.
In 2015, the press ombudsman ruled that the Sunday Times must retract all stories on the “rogue unit saga” and to apologise to Pravin Gordhan as well as others implicated after Gordhan, former Sars deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay, and former Sars executive Johann van Loggerenberg lodged a complaint.
Pauw’s full column can be read here.