Press Council rules in favour of Vivian Reddy and Oceans Umhlanga complex

Durban businessman Vivian Reddy. Photo: Gcina Ndwalane

Durban businessman Vivian Reddy. Photo: Gcina Ndwalane

Published Mar 14, 2024


Durban — The Press Council of SA has ruled in favour of prominent businessman Vivian Reddy, his associate Rob Alexander, and the Oceans Umhlanga following a series of false and misleading reports by the Daily Maverick.

The latest ruling pertains to an article published on October 1, 2023, titled “Oceans Umhlanga complex makes waves – with space for supercars but not taxis”, which followed protests by taxi operators in uMhlanga Rocks over the alleged lack of public transport facilities at the mall.

Minibus taxis belonging to several associations blocked roads leading to uMhlanga Rocks, demanding that a rank be built or provided for them. After discussions between the role-players and eThekwini Municipality, a temporary rank was created next to the mall.

Press Council deputy press ombud Professor Franz Krüger stated in the report that the complaint was that the complainants were not given adequate opportunity to respond to the claims being reported. Secondly, the complaint was that the publication was guilty of sensationalist and alarmist reporting and also that the publication was guilty of inaccurate reporting.

The complainant stated that the quote attributed to CEO Brian Mpono came from a separate statement and was taken out of context. Krüger stated in the report that according to the screenshots of the WhatsApp exchange with Mpono, the quote attributed to him did seem to have been supplied by him in specific response to the inquiry by Daily Maverick journalist Greg Ardé, rather than having been extracted from an unrelated statement by the publication, as the complainants said.

The complainants said the report failed to meet the requirements of accurate reporting in several respects, one being that the original transaction in which the land was acquired was falsely characterised as a “sweetheart deal”.

Krüger stated: “I uphold the complaint against Daily Maverick in respect of their failure to reflect the complainant’s position fully. Specifically, the report should have given the complainants the opportunity to respond to the claims.

“I uphold the complaint that the headline was misleading in that it presented as fact a claim that was contested by the complainants. I dismiss the rest of the complaint.”

The new taxi rank near Oceans Mall in uMhlanga. Picture: Tumi Pakkies/ Independent Newspapers

According to Reddy, the Press Council’s ruling marks the fourth time the Daily Maverick has been compelled to retract its statements and apologise to Reddy and his associates.

In May last year, the Daily Maverick published an article falsely claiming that Reddy’s son, Saihil, had a relationship with a US-based company Symbion and that they were sued in a US court.

The report was later proven to be false, forcing the Daily Maverick to retract the story and apologise to Reddy. The paper also disseminated a story alleging that Reddy was a member of a consortium that lost a case against Eskom, which necessitated an apology. It also had to apologise to Reddy’s wife, Sorisha Naidoo, for defamatory comments.

The Press Council’s ruling requires the Daily Maverick to correct the false and misleading information in their article, publish an apology, and grant Reddy and the Oceans Umhlanga their full right of reply to address the issues. Daily Maverick editor-in-chief Branko Brkic was contacted for comment but had not responded by publication time.

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