I warned Sunday Times – former Hawks spokesperson McIntosh Polela

McIntosh Polela said on air that he tried to warn the publication they were being misled but was ignored.

Former Hawks spokesperson McIntosh Polela. Picture: YouTube.
Former Hawks spokesperson McIntosh Polela. Picture: YouTube.

Former Hawks spokesperson McIntosh Polela told SAfm on Tuesday morning that Sunday Times journalists ignored his warnings about false information in their series of reports on the Cato Manor death squad.

“I hope we have arrived at a point where those in the media have learnt that you need to take what your sources give you with a pinch of salt,” Polela said.

“I don’t take what I read as gospel, one must read multiple sources.”

Polela said that rather than greater regulation of media, the “strengthening of the press council” must take place, adding that it is necessary to appoint “people who are outside of the media” in a role of “refereeing the media”.

Polela also called for the commission of inquiry into state capture led by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo to “have a segment on the role the media played in state capture” in the hope that South Africans can “get a sense of the impact”.

Meanwhile, former KZN Hawks boss Johan Booysen told EWN that former Sunday Times editor Ray Hartley must be called on to explain his role in the discredited articles.

Hartley, who was editor of the newspaper at the time of the reports, has been largely silent, leaving current editor Bongani Siqoko to put out fires.

Booysen wrote on Uncaptured SA: “The current editor of Sunday Times, Bongani Siqoko, who inherited the chaos his predecessors Ray Hartley and Phylicia Oppelt left behind, will be lauded by future generation journalists for his brave and unprecedented steps to initiate a catharsis in the journalism fraternity of South Africa.”

The Sunday Times recently said it will return the awards and prize money it received for articles it ran about the Cato Manor “death squad”, the Sars “rogue unit”, and Zimbabwean extraditions. It has withdrawn the stories and two senior journalists involved, Mzilikazi Wa Afrika and Stephan Hofstatter, have left the publication.

The Cato Manor “death squad” report has been slammed as “salacious propaganda stories” with Siqoko admitting that journalists “allowed [them]selves to be manipulated by those with ulterior motives”.

The victims of the report include: former head of the Hawks Anwa Dramat, Gauteng Hawks boss Shadrack Sibiya, Booysen, and the Cato Manor Serious and Violent Crimes Unit; as well as the next layer of management: Mpumalanga Hawks boss Simon Mapeyane, Ipid boss Robert McBride, Ipid investigator Matthews Sesoko and others, Sars former deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay, chief officers Gene Ravele and Barry Hore, group executive Pete Richer, spokesperson Adrian Lackay, adviser Yolisa Pikie, former anti-corruption head Clifford Collings, former internal audit group executive Brian Kgomo, operations group executives Jerome Frey and Jacques Meyer, and later more than 150 people. The Ciziten.