Right of reply: You got it all wrong about me

2015-02-08 15:00

The articles “Sex, Sars and rogue spies” (City Press, August 10 2014) and “Is she SA’s Mata Hari?” (City Press, August 17 2014) were published in City Press and its Afrikaans sister newspaper, Rapport. Numerous other stories were published as a result of these initial articles.

Because of the investigations by the ­inspector general of intelligence and the independent SA Revenue Service (Sars) panel led by Muzi Sikhakhane, I made the decision to wait to respond.

The stories published by Jacques Pauw (despite the fact that he claimed to have access to evidence) contained numerous inaccuracies about me.

Given the limited column space I have been assigned for this right of reply, it is impossible for me to go into each and ­every false allegation.

The independent investigations and other events that have taken place at Sars since my complaint was raised have ­vindicated most, if not all, the claims and allegations I raised.

My complaint has also helped to uncover rampant abuse of ­power and privileges that should concern all South Africans.

Pauw similarly made a number of claims regarding my alleged sexual behaviour and liaisons with a number of nameless personalities.

These claims were sensationalist, probably included to provide an eye-catching headline, but were in no way true.

While it is possible people implicated in my complaint may have wanted to sow mischief by making such remarks, one would expect a journalist of Pauw’s ­experience to at least have taken the time to verify his sources from an ­independent party before publishing statements with such far-reaching consequences.

This, particularly in light of the fact that Pauw previously published damning stories ­relating to the alleged dishonesty and criminality of his “source”, Yusuf Kajee.

Pauw also failed to disclose that Kajee’s statements were made in consequence of an alleged corrupt relationship between Kajee and then Sars group executive ­Johann van Loggerenberg.

Similarly, claims about my associations with Glenn Agliotti, George Darmanovich and others are simply ­untrue and ­unsubstantiated.

I have not been involved or associated with any “special ­operations unit”, and have no knowledge of the alleged plots or projects. Even the house depicted in the article as the base for the unit proved to be false – the owner lodged a complaint and City Press printed a ­retraction.

Though Pauw said it was a picture of the “wrong house”, he failed to print pictures of the right one.

It is true I shared a historical relationship with the state in respect of law ­enforcement initiatives against criminal syndicates. I am not ashamed of this role and it was ­disheartening to have it painted in such a poor light for sinister agendas.

Balanced journalism that allows readers to objectively form their own opinion relies on an unbiased writer presenting both sides of the story.

Though Pauw claimed to be in ­possession of the full complaint and my ­WhatsApp messages with Van Loggerenberg, as well as my ­subsequent responses, he chose not to write about my version of events.

He ­rather chose to present a ­biased view that painted me in the worst possible light. Perhaps this was because Pauw was listed in my complaint as a ­journalist sharing an improper relationship with Van Loggerenberg. With such a clear conflict of ­interest, it was also surprising he would compromise himself further.

The public is also not aware Pauw continued to harass and intimidate me until I laid a criminal complaint.

Pauw appeared to follow a pattern of tyranny described to me by Van Loggerenberg that had been used extensively to discredit those who became aware of the criminality being perpetrated by the covert unit and dared to oppose it.

Mike Peega and other whistle-blowers before me have had their lives wrecked by the media and were not ­believed when they spoke out.

Though Pauw has caused me irreparable pain and harm, the truth is out. I have no doubt the ensuing criminal investigations will be handled with the same competency and integrity as the initial investigations.

I hope journalists will consider their actions more carefully before publishing false stories about whistle-blowers – stories which have the potential to endanger and victimise them.

Walter is director atBelinda Walter Attorneys

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