Sunday Times to appeal Press Ombud's Sars ruling

Johannesburg - The Sunday Times will appeal the Press Ombudsman's finding that its reportage on a so-called SA Revenue Service "rogue unit" was inaccurate, misleading and unfair.

"We are disappointed with the majority of the findings and sanctions that have been made and intend to appeal key elements of the Ombudsman’s ruling to the chair of the SA Press appeals panel," Andy Gill, managing director at Times Media, said in a statement.

"We maintain that the reporting by the Sunday Times was balanced, unbiased, and that the newspaper had been sufficiently responsible and thorough in checking the validity of all information supplied by its numerous independent sources."

Former Sars commissioner Pravin Gordhan, along with former senior officials Ivan Pillay and Johann van Loggerenberg - who were also implicated in the Sunday Times’ series of articles on the "rogue unit" - had laid a complaint with the Ombudsman over various aspects of the reportage earlier this month.

The Sunday Times’ series of reports detailed allegations that Sars was running an apparent illegal unit, which was accused of running a brothel and spying on President Jacob Zuma, among other things.

Pillay and Van Loggerenberg were suspended from Sars pending investigations into the allegations of a "rogue unit", but later resigned. This week, Gordhan was reappointed to the position of the country’s finance minister.

The Ombudsman’s ruling ordered the Sunday Times to retract all stories about its Sars "rogue unit saga" and to publicly apologise, in writing, to the three men they had implicated.

Gill said the newspaper had no agenda other than to uncover the truth, which it investigated diligently and in the public interest. "We are confident of our chances on appeal," he said.

The newspaper would not comment any further until the appeal process was finalised.

Either party has seven days to appeal the Ombudsman’s ruling.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
Voting Booth
Should Proteas star Quinton de Kock continue playing at the T20 World Cup even if he doesn't take the knee in support of the fight against racism?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Yes! He should be allowed to show his support any way he chooses
33% - 137 votes
No! If De Kock refuses to unite with his teammates, then he should be on the next plane home
13% - 52 votes
The only ones at fault here are Cricket SA, who have sabotaged another Proteas World Cup
54% - 222 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.