News24 editor to testify before Zondo commission about threats to journalists

2019-02-04 16:25
News24 editor-in-chief Adriaan Basson during the question and answers session at the roundtable on "Whiteness - Whites Afrikaans, Afrikaners," on November 5, 2015, at Constitutional Hill in Johannesburg. (Photo by Gallo Images / Beeld / Felix Dlangamandla, file).

News24 editor-in-chief Adriaan Basson during the question and answers session at the roundtable on "Whiteness - Whites Afrikaans, Afrikaners," on November 5, 2015, at Constitutional Hill in Johannesburg. (Photo by Gallo Images / Beeld / Felix Dlangamandla, file).

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News24 editor-in-chief Adriaan Basson is scheduled to testify before the Zondo commission into state capture on Tuesday.

Basson is expected to testify about threats and intimidation levelled at him during his investigations into the Bosasa group of companies for over a decade. Former Bosasa chief operating officer Angelo Agrizzi told Judge Ray Zondo's inquiry last week that the company had paid media consultants to discredit Basson and fellow colleague Carien du Plessis "to get rid of negative publicity".

"Everything I know about Bosasa and their dodgy dealings with the state have been published over the past 13 years. The purpose of my evidence is not to reveal new information to the commission, but to corroborate the fact that Carien and I were targeted by Bosasa for revealing the truth," said Basson on Monday.

Then working for Beeld and Die Burger respectively, Basson and Du Plessis broke the first story of Bosasa's links to the Department of Correctional Services in 2006. They won the Taco Kuiper Award for investigative journalism in 2007 for their Bosasa investigation.

Basson said he had decided to testify because the harassment of journalists was a key part of the state capture narrative that Zondo is dissecting. "It is unusual for journalists to participate in inquiries and hearings, but the way in which journalists were targeted through the state capture project is an important part of our history that should be recorded," he said.

After initially focussing on the relationship between the Gupta family, former president Jacob Zuma and state-owned enterprises, the Zondo commission has turned its attention to Bosasa's influence over government departments. Last week saw the group's former financial director, logistics manager and security specialist gave evidence about alleged bribes to politicians and civil servants.

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