Corrections And Clarifications: 2016

January 15

SSA haul raises security concerns

This article originally misspelt “Musanda” as “Masonda” when referring to the SSA’s Musanda complex in Rietvlei.

January 29

Gordhan proposes cuts to social spending

This article has been updated to include responses from the national treasury received after the print publication deadline.

February 3

Petrol pump attendants have a rough ride

The blurb of this article incorrectly stated that at least 700 000 people in South Africa are employed as petrol attendants. It was corrected to reflect the accurate statistics – about 80 000.

February 15

Economic crisis: ANC considers privatising Eskom

The name of "Peggy Drodskie" was corrected from the originally misspelled "Peggy Drodsky".

March 8

Junk-status rating for SA not a big deal, say risk analysts

This article originally misquoted François Conradie, who correctly said South Africa holds a BBB- rating and not BB+. It also incorrectly said South Africa is on the same ratings level as Russia and Turkey.

March 10

Apartheid-era crimes: High court bid for Reserve Bank records

A few typos have been corrected, most notably where the South African History Archive (Saha) was accidentally called South African Heritage Archive, and two numbers were described more precisely.

March 10

'Mbeki was right about HIV and Aids - researchers'

The Mail & Guardian removed this article (published on March 10) from its website. By republishing a News24 wire story on our home page, we irresponsibly gave coverage to Aids denialists and the dangerous misinformation they peddle. We have retracted this story and apologise for the error.

March 11

In its story March 11 article “Disgruntled drivers round on Coke”, the Mail & Guardian stated that the civil claim of more than R6-billion against ABI is still on the court roll. However the case had been dismissed with costs against the owner drivers, who state that they are currently amending their papers to be resubmitted at the Pretoria High Court.

May 3

How much does a braai really cost?

This article originally incorrectly stated that 177 000 tonnes of chicken have been imported. It has been corrected to reflect the right amount: 1 770.

May 9

Moz villagers digging for rubies 'shot and left to die'

This story originally reported Montepuez chief prosecutor Pompilio Uazanguiua’s statement that four security agents, including one Arkhe Risk Solutions employee, had been tried and convicted for killing people on the mine. We have since discovered that a Cabo Delgado provincial court judge found there was insufficient evidence and the Arkhe employee was acquitted. This version of the story has been corrected.

May 25

Moz villagers digging for rubies 'shot and left to die'

The press ombud has directed Mail & Guardian to apologise to mining company Gemfields and its Mozambican partner Montepuez Ruby Mining (MRM) for the March 11, 2016 story “Moz villagers digging for rubies 'shot and left to die’” and a corresponding editorial “Christo Wiese, Mila Kunis and the blood rubies of Mozambique”.

Gemfields and MRM lodged a complaint with ombud Johan Retief. Having considered Gemfields, MRM and M&G’s representations, Retief found that the story “created the impression, without sufficient justification, that MRM and by association also Gemfields, were in some way or another involved in the killing of people in the area.”

He continued: “This includes the impression that MRM was safeguarding an unethical monopoly through force by its security company; that it directed government forces to commit violent acts against people who had been mining illegally within the concession area; that it had, with the help of Mozambican forces, turned the region into a militarised zone; and that it had been using unwarranted levels of force to protect the concession.”

Retief found the story “relied on allegations by sources without sufficient verification”.

For this, M&G and the amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism, which produced the story, apologise.

Retief dismissed the remainder of Gemfields and MRM’s complaint.

Visit for the full finding.

June 3

Editorial: The poisoned nuclear debate and Regulator advises partial clean-up of radioactive dump in the Karoo

Correction: Nuke body did not advise clean-up
The Mail & Guardian reported (June 3) that the National Nuclear Regulator had “advised an emergency evacuation” of radioactive material from a site managed by Tasman RSA Holdings. The article – “Partial nuke waste clean-up advised” and references to this statement in the editorial were incorrect. This was based on an incorrect reading of the regulator’s report. It did not advise a clean up and the regulator has subsequently said: “Based on the outcomes of the regulatory investigation, the NNR can confirm that there is no transgression of the regulatory requirements by the authorisation holder.” This investigation had found none of the breaches of law which the M&G had mentioned in its reporting. The M&G apologises for this error and any damage that might have been done to either the National Nuclear Regulator, or Tasman RSA Holdings.

June 9

Mozambique is being punished for its hidden guarantees to parastatals

This article has been updated to include information from the cited Bloomberg report that was published after this article first went live on

June 15

Karoo way of life under threat from mining company

Added in an extensive update that appears at the bottom of the story.

June 20

Who made the grade? Report tracks the good, bad and ugly of South Africa’s metros

An earlier version of this story stated that between 2001 and 2011, Mangaung’s economic growth was the lowest of all the cities.This has been corrected to 'the second lowest of all the cities'. It also stated that the South African Cities Network (SACN) focuses on reducing the number of informal settlements, but the SACN's main areas of focus are research and knowledge sharing among its partners. Its main partners are Salga, Cogta and eight of the metros - not "the National Planning Commission and the treasury", as was earlier stated.

July 25

South Africa and other emerging markets ride an unexpected Brexit boom

This article has been removed after the JSE announced on Sunday, that due to a programming error, affecting how it extracts statistical data from its transactional systems, the figures for non-resident inflows into equities were incorrectly calculated. This suggests that rather than record buying of SA equities by foreigners, the data pointed to sales of SA shares by foreigners.

The JSE apologised for the error.

The Mail & Guardian will be following this up in the coming days – please check back for an update

August 1

Cooperation between mobile banking providers will benefit them, users and governments

The original article was updated by the author, and was given a new header in accordance with the new text.

August 12

On August 11 the following tweets went out from the Mail & Guardian’s official Twitter account:

“Juju got smaller in waist and taste, now someone’s spreading vicious HIV porkies about him. Get the M&G for more.”

“Juju got his body right for the summer. Now he has to run from HIV rumours. Why? More in the M&G tomorrow.”

The story only went live on Friday morning, as per M&G policy. Twitter users could therefore not access the story on Thursday night, when the tweets were sent out.

The comment piece focused on the ANC Youth League’s KwaZulu-Natal branch’s statement that Julius Malema’s recent weight loss had affected his “mental ability” and that Cabinet ministers must “rescue him from self-destruction”.

This was in response Malema’s allegations of corruption in the youth league.

The Bhekisisa article addressed the dangerous associations between being overweight, successful and wealthy in Africa. It argued that Malema should be praised for his weight loss instead of being ridiculed and shamed. The author took a holistic look at perceptions of weight loss and gain on the continent and also included a reference to a study which found that black women often don’t exercise because they fear that people would think they’re infected with HIV if they’re thin.

At no point in the article, did Bheksisa insinuate that there were rumours that Malema had contracted HIV. In fact, the piece challenges the perceptions around HIV and weight loss.

The tweets that were sent out to promote the story on Thursday night were misleading and insensitive. They created the impression that the story was about rumours concerning Malema’s HIV status.

Malema and the ANC Youth League’s reference to his weight loss were used as an entry point to discuss perceived associations between wealth and health. The piece argued that such connotations are extremely worrying within the context of South Africa’s high rate of obesity.

Because of a lapse in communication, the tweets were not run past Bhekisisa or the author of the article before going live. Bhekisisa understands the impact of those tweets on fuelling HIV-related stigma, and have had in-depth discussion with the Mail & Guardian’s team on Friday morning. Proper processes have been put in place to prevent this from happening again.

We remain committed to sensitive and accurate health journalism that respects not only the South African Press Code but also the rights and dignity of people.

September 13

In an article published on August 10 2016 in the Mail & Guardian, entitled "A truer reflection on the winelands", we noted that alcohol is still given to workers on some farms. We should have clarified that this is an allegation according to persistent reports on the matter, and relates to a small number of farms. We should have also noted that the article was a comment piece. The editor regrets these omissions.

October 12

#FeesMustFall: The academics who stand behind the students

 A previous version of this article cited a tweet that named Srila Roy as one of the academics who 'continued to secretly teach'. This was incorrect. We regret the error and apologise for not offering Roy a right of reply before publishing.