Independent’s Chris Whitfield takes early retirement

Group executive editor Chris Whitfield on Monday confirmed he had taken an early retirement from the Independent News and Media group South Africa (INMSA), but refused to give further details, saying that the matter was "delicate and we are still working out details".

Whitfield, formerly the Cape regional editor, was appointed as group executive in charge of launching new products at the media group in December last year.

His new appointment coincided with the axing of Cape Times editor Alide Dasnois. 

The removal of Dasnois from office coincides with the newspaper publishing a front-page article on public protector Thuli Madonsela's finding that Fisheries Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson was guilty of maladministration, as well as improper and unethical conduct in the irregular awarding of an R800-million tender to a Sekunjalo subsidiary to manage the state's fishery vessels.

Sekunjalo Consortium is the controlling shareholder of INMSA.

Denial
INMSA chairperson Iqbal Survé categorically denied that Dasnois was removed from her position because of the story on tender irregularities. He later said she was removed for not meeting financial targets.

In December, staff at the Independent newspaper group expressed their "deep anger and protest" at the dismissal of Alide Dasnois in a strongly worded letter circulated among employees.

"Although Dasnois was told three days ago not to return to work, staff have still not been officially informed of the reason for her sudden dismissal," the letter from Cape Times employees said.

The South African National Editors' Forum also raised its concerns over the coincidence of Dasnois's sacking and the publication of the report. 

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