In the IOL story published on October 26, 2023 titled EXCLUSIVE: Forensic probe recommends Tourism KwaZulu-Natal officials cough up money lost in doomed, unauthorised media campaign, IOL had erroneously referred to Vukani Cele as the director of Assegai and Javelin, and reported that he was liable to pay back some R80,000 as a result of irregular expenditure by Tourism KZN.
IOL stands by its initial story, which is based on a forensic report that found Tourism KZN had flouted the Public Finance Management Act and awarded a tender to entities Assegai and Javelin. However, IOL erred in naming Vukani Cele as Assegai and Javelin's Director, and failed to adequately seek a right of reply from Mr Cele.
The report explicitly states that R80,333.32 be recovered from the Director of Assegai and Javelin; IOL failed in its duty to identify the Director, and erroneously named Vukani Cele as the person from whom the money be recovered as he was named as a representative of the company in the forensic report compiled by Bonakude Consulting.
IOL deeply regrets the error. There was no malice intended in erroneously referring to Mr Cele as a Director of Assegai and Javelin or affording him an adequate right of reply.
IOL has updated the article and removed Mr Cele's name from the news report, and offers its unreserved apology to Mr Cele, and retracts its assertion that he was the Director of the now-defunct entity Assegai and Javelin, and further retracts that Mr Cele is personally liable to repay the money as per the recommendation contained in the Bonakude report.
IOL holds itself to the highest possible standard of reporting and the error we made in naming Mr Cele in this news report is not in line with our pursuit of excellence.