Independent Media apologises unconditionally to the ANC and Resurgent Risk Managers for the article 'Luthuli House to be auctioned over R25m debt?' published on page one of The Sunday Independent and on our digital platform, IOL.
The article, published on August 20, alleged that the ANC headquarters, Chief Albert Luthuli House, was up for grabs, after the Johannesburg High Court ordered the sheriff to auction the building. The story further alleged it was based on the party failing to pay R25 million to Resurgent Risk Managers.
Subsequent to the publication of the article both the ANC and Resurgent Risk Managers pointed out there was no court judgment or, for that matter, action by the sheriff to attach the ANC’s headquarters.
As a result of the above parties’ comments, Independent Media immediately launched an investigation. Preliminary findings has provided us with enough evidence to take the strongest possible action.
Independent Media with immediate effect, has suspended the three journalists involved in the story and will institute the necessary disciplinary steps after a thorough investigation.
One of the glaring omissions in the article was that the freelance journalist who wrote the story did not corroborate the information and did not properly identify legal documentation.
Independent Media safeguards its integrity and will not publish news that is not firmly corroborated by our journalists.
Furthermore we expect our journalists, including freelance journalists, to have the highest ethical standards and to at all times ensure that the news reported is accurate and is able to withstand scrutiny, so that our readers have confidence in both our print and online publications.
Independent Media Executive Chairman, Dr Iqbal Survé said: “I hope that by taking such immediate and firm action we demonstrate to our readers, and all other parties, and will speedily investigate if our journalists do not perform according to our high standard of ethics.
“We won’t tolerate our platforms carrying fake news, or news that has not been corroborated. This is a serious breach of ethics, and is tantamount to Independent Media being used to further an agenda,” Dr Survé said.