Derby-Lewis vs Beeld

Dear Ms Derby-Lewis

Your complaint against Beeld (Derby-Lewis ‘wil om verskoning vra’ – 9 April 2013) refers.

This story quoted Mr Malesela Maleka, spokesman for the SACP, as saying that Mr Clive Derby-Lewis should not get amnesty for the killing of Mr Chris Hani as he did not reveal all to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (or that he had lied).

You complain that (a) Beeld reported Maleka’s opinion that Derby-Lewis had lied (he said that other people were involved in the killing) and that the people involved in the murder must tell it all, and (b) you ask this office to direct Maleka to retract his statement.

I cannot do either, as:

·         Maleka had the right to his opinion and to voice that opinion, even if he may have been wrong;

·         South Africa’s Constitution allows people freedom of expression – one needs to obey a court’s decision, but not necessarily agree with it;

·         Beeld had the right to report Maleka’s opinion, and

·         Maleka does not subscribe to the Press Code, which means that I have no jurisdiction over him (I therefore cannot ask him to retract anything).

I am therefore dismissing your complaint.

You may within seven working days of receipt of this decision apply for leave to appeal to the Chairperson of the SA Press Adjudication Panel, Judge Bernard Ngoepe, fully setting out the grounds of appeal. He can be contacted at Khanyim@ombudsman.org.za.

Johan Retief

Press Ombudsman