I will be writing to both the Minister of Police, Nathi Mthethwa, and the Chairperson of the South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF), Mr Mondli Makhanya, to request that full investigations are conducted into the allegations that the Police Crime Intelligence Unit (CIU) bribed journalists.
These allegations emerged in an official document compiled by Colonel Kobus Roelofse of the SAPS anti-corruption task team and lodged in court papers by Freedom Under Law (FUL).
This is not the first instance in which the CIU is alleged to have paid the media to either bury bad news or shift the attention away from the many issues dogging the unit. A report earlier this year revealed that “two journalists were allegedly paid – one R100 000 to write a positive story about the police and the other R50 000 not to publish a story about a senior cop”.
Colonel Roelofse’s document indicates that CIU Finance Head Major General Solly Lazarus “wanted to use sources within the media (journalists paid by CI) to write a story in order to take the focus away from them. This &hellip is a strategy employed to cast suspicion on those they perceived to be a threat.”
The report further states that the article was published in the Sunday Times on 23 October 2011 relating to the Head of the Hawks, Anwa Dramat, and Major General Sibiya. It was later used by controversial “shifted” Crime Intelligence boss Richard Mdluli in making representations to the National Prosecuting Authority to cast suspicion on Dramat and the team investigating the Mdluli saga.
The article simply states as its source a “special report by investigation staff”.
I will also write to the editor of the Sunday Times, Mr Ray Hartley, to request an explanation for allegations that journalists working for his paper were paid by the Police Crime Intelligence Unit (CIU) to write biased stories.
The South African public deserves a full explanation about the alleged bribes paid by Crime Intelligence and the reported involvement of members of the media.