DJ Fresh vs Sunday Sun

Complainant: DJ Fresh
Lodged by: DJ Fresh
Article: ‘baby mama’ secret – Big Dawg and his manager ‘shared more than just work’
Author of article: Theo Nyhaba
Date: 14 August 2015
Respondent: Prince Chauke, editor of the Sunday Sun
Complaint
DJ Fresh is complaining about a front-page story in Sunday Sun of 21 June 2015, headlined DJ Fresh’s ‘baby mama’ secret – Big Dawg and his manager ‘shared more than just work’.
He complains that the story falsely stated that he had:
• had a child with his manager, Ms Tsholo Mosaka;
• travelled to North West to meet Mosaka’s family;
• paid them ilobola; and
• acknowledged or taken responsibility for the child (who did not exist).
He adds that the story also inaccurately stated that the child looked like him and that his wife had not been aware of the child (as it did not exist).
“The entire article relied on unnamed sources and the allegations are unsubstantiated by any evidence.”
DJ Fresh also complains that the journalist did not afford him the opportunity to reply to the allegations, and concludes that it has caused immeasurable harm to his privacy, dignity and reputation.
The text
The story, written by Theo Nyhaba , said sources “close to the situation” alleged that DJ Fresh, a 5FM morning show host, allegedly had a four-year-old son with Mosaka.
Analysis
Mosaka has also lodged a complaint with this office about the same matter. She stated in an affidavit, “I do not have a boy child with Mr Sikwane or anyone for that matter, I also am not from the North West, I have two female children.”
I confronted the newspaper with this affidavit and met with Vos.
After he revealed the names of his sources to me, I asked him to double check with them to make sure there were no misunderstandings.
He reported back, confirming the “eye-witness” information of his sources, and concluded, “We believed the article to be reasonably true at the time of going to print due to the credibility of our sources… The SMS conversation (between XXX and YYY) I’ve shown to you in our prior meeting was also taken into consideration before the article was published.”
I then stated, “This leaves me between a rock and a hard place. I do not believe that a hearing would change anything, as Mosaka is not likely to go back on her affidavit; neither are the sources likely to change their minds. Also, I cannot insist on a DNA test on a child who, according to Mosaka, does not exist.”
The only conclusion that I could come to, was that I was not in a position to make a definite finding on Mosaka’s complaint.
The same applies in this instance.
Regarding the complaint that Sunday Sun did not ask DJ Fresh for comment, the editor says the reporter tried to phone him and also sent him an SMS, but, says Chauke, he did not respond. At the time he was in Botswana – which was reported in the story.
Finding
There is no finding regarding the allegation that DJ Fresh had a son with Mosaka.
The complaint about not having asked DJ Fresh for comment is dismissed.
Appeal
Our Complaints Procedures lay down that within seven working days of receipt of this decision, either party may apply for leave to appeal to the Chairperson of the SA Press Appeals Panel, Judge Bernard Ngoepe, fully setting out the grounds of appeal. He can be contacted at Khanyim@ombudsman.org.za.
Johan Retief
Press Ombudsman