Do journalists have a duty to protect their sources who have deliberately lied?
Particularly when there is an admission that they were complicit in forwarding information they should have thought about.
The Sunday Times has parted ways with senior journalists Mzilikazi wa Afrika and Stephan Hofstatter.
This is after the two were part of a group from the newspaper's investigative unit who wrote a number of stories which were later established to be false.
The stories include the so-called rogue unit at the South African Revenue Service (Sars) which led to the exodus of senior executives.
The paper has now apologized and announced that it will return all awards and prize money received for now discredited reports on the Cato Manor “death squad”, “Sars rogue unit” and Zimbabwean extraditions.
Speaking to Bongani Bingwa, former KZN Hawks head Major General Johan Booysen says he would not like to defend the Sunday Times but he feels vindicated by the apology.
I have made it clear in the book that I wrote and I have also made it clear in the article I wrote in the Sunday Times that the informants of Stephan Hofstatter and Mzilikazi wa Afrika were none other than rogue elements within crime intelligence.— Major General Johan Booysen, former KZN Hawks head
He adds that there were a number of people with agendas and counter agendas and those people made use of Wa Afrika and Hofstatter.
Both Wa Afrika and Hofstatter have parted ways with the Sunday Times.
Bingwa also spoke to former Hawks spokesperson McIntosh Polela who says assistance and information was given to Wa Afrika.
I wrote a lot of information to the journalists from the Sunday Times and it was clear to me when I saw the articles that they had fallen in love with the narrative that they were peddling.— McIntosh Polela, former Hawks spokesperson
And when I confronted them afterwards because they had left a lot of information that I had given them, which I thought was going to be of assistance to them to show that what they were being fed was rubbish, I was left dismayed at the narrative they were pushing.— McIntosh Polela, Former Hawks spokesperson
Listen below to the full interview: