Sibiya to appeal ombudsman's decision

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Johannesburg - Head of the Hawks in Gauteng, Major-General Shadrack Sibiya, will appeal against a Press Ombudsman dismissal of his complaint against the Sunday Times, his office said on Friday.

“Sibiya has noted the content and is dissatisfied with the ruling. However he will be forwarding his appeal,” his office said in an e-mail to the Ombudsman.

The appeal would be forwarded once he had received a phone account said to show his whereabouts for the whole of December 2013.

Sibiya complained about a story published in the Sunday Times of January 12, 2014, headlined “Hawks boss link to Sexy Boys gang drugs bust - Gauteng head allegedly took cash from suspects”.

Sibiya contended the story falsely stated that he had been in Cape Town during December 2013, that he had received money from gang leaders during that “meeting”, and that he had been connected to a police drug bust in the Mother City.

He said the journalist made use of anonymous sources who were most likely connected to the criminal underworld, and/or to corrupt police officials, and that the headline was sensationalist, devoid of truth and misleading.

The Ombudsman said Sibiya provided copies of his passport and visa to prove that he was out of the country between December 12 and 24.

“The information on Sibiya's passport and visa supports his claim that he was not in South Africa on December 16 or 17 (as claimed by the Sunday Times in correspondence after the story was published),” noted the Ombudsman.

“However, the story did not say that the alleged meeting took place on one of those dates - it merely stated that Sibiya had been in Cape Town in December.”

The Ombudsman said while he accepted that Sibiya was abroad between December 12 and 24, he had no information about his whereabouts in that month before and after these dates.


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