Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg - The South African National Editor's Forum (Sanef) on Monday said there was no payment made by Bosasa to the SABC8 campaign in 2016.

This comes after Sanef on Friday received the final forensic report by Deloitte into allegations that Bosasa paid R100 000 to a crowdfunding campaign for the SABC8 journalists.

"Sanef requested Deloitte to perform a forensic review after the publication of such allegations in TimesLive on 22 January 2019 that corruption-accused Bosasa made a donation to the cause, which Sanef supported," the editors' forum said.

"Based on the information obtained and corroborated from a variety of sources and procedures, Deloitte found no evidence that any payment was made by Bosasa or entity or persons related to Bosasa to the SABC8 campaign in 2016."

Sanef chairwoman Mahlatse Mahlase said she was satisfied that the Deloitte report put to rest the question on whether Bosasa contributed to the SABC8 crowdfunding campaign.

"We never had any doubt that the fund did not receive money from Bosasa but wanted an independent forensic auditor to confirm this since the allegations published by TimesLive cast aspersions on Sanef, the SABC8 and Sanef treasurer Adriaan Basson, who started the fund," said Mahlase.

The Sanef council last month in Cape Town resolved at its meeting that a meeting be sought with the editors of TimesLive in the wake of the Deloitte report being published.

"We will now set-up such a meeting to convey our displeasure about the way in which this false story was handled. Deloitte performed a number of procedures to assess whether funds had actually been received from Bosasa to support the SABC8 journalists, who were sacked by former COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng for standing up for media freedom," Sanef said.

Procedures followed by Deloitte were validating the information contained in the detailed spreadsheet of the crowdfunding campaign donors provided by Basson, reviewing the donors to identify any specific association with Bosasa, determining the electronic flow of funds to confirm the use of the funds, and making direct requests to the Bosasa representatives mentioned in the email referred to by TimesLive, to confirm whether such payments were made at the time.

"Deloitte was given access to the bank accounts of Sanef, Willem de Klerk Attorneys and Basson for the period in 2016 during which the campaign was active and was further provided with written statements by seven SABC8 journalists (Suna Venter passed away in 2017) and Basson, and independently confirmed that the only contribution surpassing R100 000 had no links to Bosasa," said Sanef.

The group of SABC journalists were placed on suspension without pay after they disagreed with the broadcaster's' decision to ban the airing of footage of protests.

African News Agency/ANA