Media Ethics: SA editors forum says it will await the investigation into journalist implicated in state capture inquiry

The South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) said it has noted Hawks officer Colonel Kobus Roelofse’s testimony regarding Tiso Blackstar senior journalist Ranjeni Munusamy at the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture.

Roelofse alleged Munusamy had accepted payment from crime intelligence, saying he had discovered that, in 2008, R143 621.78 went toward Munusamy’s vehicle finance account from a secret slush fund belonging to crime intelligence.

Munusamy, who was working as a communications consultant at the time and one of her clients included the Friends of Jacob Zuma Trust, told News24 she will defend herself against the allegations.

“Sanef has noted Munusamy’s denial of the allegation and welcomes her decision to co-operate with the Zondo commission.”

“Sanef champions ethical journalism and has launched its own inquiry into media credibility and ethics, chaired by retired judge Kathleen Satchwell. We encourage any South African with evidence of journalists acting unethically or illegally to approach Judge Satchwell and the authorities, including the Zondo commission.”

It welcomed Tiso Blackstar’s decision to place Munusamy on special leave so that she could deal with the allegations against her, which it said, “has the ability to further undermine the integrity and standing of the journalism profession”.

“We will closely follow Munusamy’s co-operation with the Zondo commission and will await the outcome of Tiso Blackstar’s internal investigation,” Sanef added.

On Wednesday, Roelofse said he had discovered the payment while investigating corruption between crime intelligence officers and Atlantis Motors in Centurion

“We were able to uncover an amount of R143 621.78. It was paid from the Atlantis Motors business account to a Wesbank vehicle finance account in the settlement agreement of the vehicle in the name of Ms Ranjeni Munusamy. As far as I know, she is a journalist,” he added at the commission.

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo said the commission would return to the matter at a later stage.