Sunday World forced to apologise to Chiefs

The Press Ombudsman has found that the Sunday World has breached the Press Code. As a result of this ruling the Sunday newspaper has been instructed to apologise to Kaizer Chiefs and Jessica Motaung for two articles published – ‘Bitter words over Shabba’s luxury car’ (published on 26 November 2017) and ‘Chiefs staff revolt over Xmas bonuses’ (10 December 2017). Both articles were written by Ngwako Malatji – who in the past has written similarly damaging articles about the club and staff.

The apology comes on the back of a complaint lodged by Kaizer Chiefs with the Press Council following the two misleading and unverified articles about the club, its sponsors and personnel.

According to the Preamble to the Press Code, newspapers commit themselves to ‘always striving for truth, avoiding unnecessary harm… and acting independently’. The club believes that is the doctrine to which the Sunday World is supposed to adhere but they seem to be adhering to a different doctrine.

This is a serious ruling against the Sunday World. As Kaizer Chiefs we value our relationship with fans and stakeholders and that’s why we are so adamant that anything published in the media should be truthful.

Newspapers and other media outlets need to realise their responsibilities to their readers. They have to respect and take their audiences seriously by reporting accurately and truthfully. And, at all times, they need to verify information received from sources. The media need to realise that some of their readers are our supporters and they trust that they will be given credible information.

Kaizer Chiefs urges fans and stakeholders to always rely on our media platforms for accurate information about the club, sponsors and personnel.

The Sunday World expressed regret for publishing the two articles last year on the front page and page 4 of the edition of Sunday, 1 April 2018.

Hereunder the ruling of the Ombudsman on 14 March 2018:

Sunday World was instructed to apologise to Kaizer Chiefs and Jessica Motaung for:

  • unfairly and without proper verification stating as fact that:
    • an “acrimonious war” had broken out between her and Mahlakgane at Kaizer Chiefs soccer club, and for using the word “war” in the front-page headline (first article);
    • there was a “bonus rebellion” and a “mutiny” at the club, and for using the word “revolt” in both the front-page and inside headlines (second article); and
  • publishing the allegation that Jessica Motaung had embarked on a witch-hunt to sniff out whistle blowers without proper verification.

For the full finding of the Press Ombudsman, please visit www.presscouncil.org.za

The club feels vindicated by the ruling and urge Sunday World and their journalist, Ngwako Malatji, to be more responsible in the future, instead of allowing themselves to be used as tools for malicious rumour-mongering.