Mbalula's M&G complaint dismissed

2011-06-24 20:41

Cape Town - Deputy Press Ombudsman Johan Retief has dismissed a complaint by Sport and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula against the Mail&Guardian newspaper.

Mbalula had complained about a story published on April 8, and headlined "Kebble 'mentored' Mbalula".

The story, written by Mandy Rossouw, was about a new book called "Killing Kebble" by Mandy Wiener.

Rossouw focused on the relationship between slain mining magnate Brett Kebble and Mbalula and reported that the former was one of Mbalula's earliest mentors.

His butler, Andrew Minnaar, reportedly said Kebble would "coach" Mbalula on what to say and how to say it at ANC Youth League rallies.

Not unfair

In his findings released on Friday, Retief said Mbalula complained that the article relied on privileged statements made in a court process in which he was not involved.

"He says that he did not have the opportunity to dispute allegations in court and that the newspaper therefore should have reported fairly and accurately and not simply have focused on what it perceived to be a 'sting'. The implication is that the reportage was unfair."

However, from the story it was clear that the story was not reporting on court proceedings; it was clearly an article on Wiener's book (that largely contained information about the murder trial).

"Surely, it was the newspaper's right to report on the book, which was sold out four days after publication.

"There is also nothing unfair about a practice such as this. It would have been unfair if the reporter did not ask Mbalula's views, given the nature of the story. But his views are adequately reflected in the story," Retief said.


Retief said, among other things, the story also contained Mbalula's denial that he was "coached" by Kebble or that he was his mentor.

It said: "I [Mbalula} couldn't be coached by anyone. Kebble was well versed and well informed, he had views that he would share with us, but that doesn't amount to coaching."

Further, as the newspaper was merely reporting on what the book said, it could not reasonably be expected to verify what Minnaar said. That was not the purpose of the story.

There was also no reason to believe that the M&G wanted to defame and undermine Mbalula's integrity, or that the newspaper "adopted" or "affirmed" allegations in the book, Retief said.

The complaint was dismissed in its entirety.

  • World Traveler - 2011-06-24 21:00

    Fikile Mbalula has tendencies!

  • Mundu - 2011-06-24 21:55

    Well I think he tried to coach him but he was too dumb to even remember any coaching at all...

  • croix - 2011-06-24 23:54

    As a former 2ic of police matters, this person does not seem to be too great with legal knowledge. Any good lawyer would have advised him to just 'drop it' - seeing as he had no chance to succeed. Maybe he was thinking of civil action for "bucks' sake"?

  • ilollipop - 2011-06-25 00:29

    So his case also collapses.... much like the man himself....

  • Karoobloed - 2011-06-25 00:36

    Hey, do not be so hard on Mr. Mbalula - he did the finest motivational speech EVER before the Bok-English clash at the end of last year at Twickenham. He is perhaps the only guy that can inspire the Boks to a win over the ABs come RWC 2011. :)

      HAggardGnome - 2011-06-25 09:25

      K&k man!

  • JadedJay - 2011-06-25 04:57

    Fikile...a Malema cronie bum chum.

  • thobsa malope - 2011-06-25 09:53

    Now we know which people are likely to influence the next secretary general of the ANC in the execution of his duties come 2012.

  • theprodigy - 2011-06-25 11:16

    Mbalula the bloody agent!!

  • John Paul - 2011-06-25 19:51

    The colapse is a simple item to claim distress, and claim distress money relief via a party judge...

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