Ombud commends co-operation between City Press, ANC on complaint

ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu. (Oupa Nkosi)

ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu. (Oupa Nkosi)

Press Ombudsman, Johan Retief, said he was impressed with the manner in which City Press and the ANC handled a complaint about a published story.

Retief said in a statement on Saturday that he would not make a formal ruling in the matter, which involved a complaint from ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu about a story carried by the City Press newspaper on November 10 2013.

The story was headlined "Seshego shuns Ramaphosa", and reported that ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa received a cold reception when he visited the neighbourhood of Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema. Retief said: "The parties have already agreed that some sort of apology is needed, so there is no need for me to re-invent the wheel."

Mthembu wanted the newspaper to acknowledge that its report omitted that a person, who was particularly hostile to Ramaphosa, was believed to be under the influence of alcohol. In other respects, the parties were agreed on the content of the apology, Retief said.

City Press would publish an apology, acknowledging that the original story was based on the reporter's eyewitness account of one part of Ramaphosa's visit to Seshego. As such, it was not the newspaper's intention to mislead readers to believe that the whole village shunned Ramaphosa. Retief said: "I am leaving the decision where to publish the apology up to the newspaper, in the same co-operative spirit that the two parties have shown in almost reaching an agreement before turning to me."

Either party could apply for leave to appeal the ombudsman's decision within seven working days. – Sapa

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