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Police arrest Sunday Times journalist

Sapa-AFP, Mail & Guardian Reporter

A Sunday Times journalist was arrested for fraud and defeating the ends of justice on Wednesday.

A Sunday Times journalist was arrested for fraud and defeating the ends of justice on Wednesday.

Hawks spokesperson Musa Zondi confirmed the journalist had been arrested and would appear in court within 48 hours.

Zondi would not name the journalist or give further details of the alleged offence.

“You’ll get to hear the case when he appears in court,” he said.

Times Live has identified the journalist as Mzilikazi wa Afrika.

Times Live reported that Wa Afrika was arrested for the possession of what police claim is a fraudulent letter of resignation from Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza to President Jacob Zuma.

“Wa Afrika was seized by police, who became involved in a screaming match with senior editors about whether photographers could take pictures or not,” reported Times Live.

Wa Afrika recently published an article that alleged that police commissioner General Bheki Cele had improperly purchased a new building for police headquarters at a cost of R500-million.

‘Deeply concerned’
In a statement posted on the Times Live site, Sunday Times editor Ray Hartley said the paper was trying to get clarity on the charges, and find out where Wa Afrika was being held.

“I am deeply concerned at the fact that a journalist can be arrested and held at an undisclosed location in a country where the rule of law ought to apply,” read the statement.

“He was arrested by a large number of policemen in an operation which was clearly designed to intimidate, and I can only conclude that this was the true motive for what took place today [Wednesday].

“Mzilikazi was one of the authors of the story which we published on Sunday about the rental of new police headquarters at the cost of R500m without following the usual tender proceedings. I hope, for the sake of our country, that he was not arrested on spurious charges in order to punish him for what he wrote.”

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