MEDIA STATEMENT: Sunday Times’ editor Ray Hartley clears the air on accusations that journalists from the award-winning investigative team took money from the police to smear suspended crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli.
“Factually inaccurate allegations were made against journalists of our investigations unit in an affidavit in the Mdluli case brought by Freedom Under Law. In an affidavit, a Colonel Roelofse suggested that they were paid by crime intelligence to plant a story in the paper for nefarious ends.
“We filed requests under the Public Access to Information Act for any evidence in police records of any such payment being made by the police. After failing to find evidence after a month of searching, the police requested a 30 day extension which was granted to extend the search further.
“We have now been informed by the police that there is no record of any such payment ever being made.
“The official reply to our request read: “The record you requested does not exist”.
“This was further backed up by a signed affidavit from Brigadier Monk Sarah Mabena, the acting head of support services at Crime Intelligence head office, who stated: ‘I have personally checked all the relevant registers and files where such records would be kept, should it exist, and there are no records or proof of any records’.
“This leaves me with no doubt whatsoever that our journalists are innocent of the flimsy and vague allegations made by Roelofse. Their courageous reporting exposing corruption, murder and maladministration in the police has been fair, accurate and in the public interest. The commissioner of police should do the right thing and set the public record straight on this matter.”
Ray Hartley, editor of the Sunday Times