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Rasool wins complaint against tabloid newspaper

Western Cape Premier Ebrahim Rasool has won a complaint against tabloid newspaper the Daily Voice, the press ombudsman said on Monday.

In May this year, the ombudsman found that the newspaper had implied, in an article and editorial published in January, that Rasool had given more than R1-million to an alleged criminal and drug lord.

On Friday, the tabloid lost its right to appeal against the ombudsman’s decision.

In his complaint, Rasool said the wording of the articles, which implied he had given taxpayers’ money to Richard ”Pot” Stemmet — who was facing various criminal and drug-related charges — was ”a serious allegation against my integrity”.

Apparently the Western Cape provincial government gave the Kaapse Karnavaal Assosiasie (KKA) R1,6-million. Stemmet was one of three leaders of the KKA.

Rasool told the ombudsman that the money given went towards transport costs paid directly to the Golden Arrow Bus Company as well as contributions towards administration and logistics.

The ombudsman said aspects of the article were clearly not true, such as its headline, which read ”’High-flyer’ hits the jackpot”, and its opening sentence, which read: ”An alleged high-flyer and minstrel kingpin has received more than R1-million from government even though he is facing drug charges.”

The ombudsman said that the KKA and Stemmet were conflated in the article, which distorted and misrepresented the facts.

As part of his submission to the ombudsman, Daily Voice acting editor Elliot Sylvester said his newspaper was a tabloid and ”as such much of what appears in the newspaper is written in a tongue-in-cheek manner” and would be understood as such by their readers.

The Daily Voice was ordered to carry a front-page apology and an abridged version of the press ombudsman’s ruling. — Sapa

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