Samuel Sekgothe vs. Daily Sun


Thu, Aug 17, 2017

Ruling by the Press Ombud

17 August 2017

This ruling is based on the written submissions of Mr Samuel Sekgothe and those of Johan Vos, deputy editor of the Daily Sun newspaper.

Sekgothe, from Soweto, is complaining about a story in the Daily Sun of 7 July 2017, headlined Tenant told to leave! – Emily says madala wanted to sleep with her.

Complaint                                            

Sekgothe complains the story incorrectly stated he had confirmed that he had:

·         kicked out a tenant (Ms Emily Hlogeng) because she had refused to sleep with him; and

·         not slept with his wife in ten years and that they sleep in separate bedrooms.

He says that his brothers served Hlogeng with an eviction notice – which she refused to counter-sign, adding that the reporter was not interested in perusing this document.

Sekgothe says the reportage has humiliated him, and claims that it has caused problems with his family and with the community.

The text

The article, written by Everson Luhanga, said that when Ms Emily Hlogeng (36) rejected his sexual advances, Sekgothe (62) threw all her belongings out of her rented room and told her to leave.

Hlogeng reportedly said she had been living in Sekgothe’s yard for five years and was horrified when she returned from work to find all her belongings scattered outside. The reporter quoted her as saying that Sekgothe had an issue with her because she had refused to sleep with him.

“He used to tell me he was going through a hard time at home. He told me he wanted me to be his wife,” she reportedly said.

Luhanga wrote that Sekgothe had confirmed Hlogeng’s claims. He reportedly told the journalist, “I only asked her for sex once. After she refused, I didn’t go back to her. It’s true that I’m not getting sex at home. I am not on good terms with my wife and we sleep in separate rooms.”

He reportedly added that he had not had sex for ten years and that he just “took a chance with Emily”.

The journalist also reported that Sekgothe’s sister (Grace, 76), said she had spoken to her brother and asked him to stop harassing Hlogeng.”I would get calls from Emily about my brother wanting to sleep with her. We won’t chase Emily out. She must stay in the yard,” she was quoted as saying.

 

Some arguments

Vos says the information in the story is accurate and that Sekgothe was quoted correctly. He submits that the information was corroborated by two family members and that the newspaper therefore believed it was reasonable to accept the article as true.

Sekgothe replies that the information about him was incorrect on all counts.

He adds that Hlogeng was given the first notice on 1 December 2015 after a family meeting – which she did not “honour”. He says the final notice was served on June 8 this year.

Analysis

Vos has provided me with the names and phone numbers of the two family members to corroborate the information contained in the story. My office spoke to both, and both confirmed that the story was correct in all respects.

The “eviction notice” stated that the decision to evict Hlogeng was taken because another Sekgothe brother was to occupy her place. Because Mr Gabriel Sekgothe’s name appeared on this document, my office asked him to confirm the reason for the eviction.

He confirmed that the story was correct in this regard as well.

Given this information, I have no reason to fault the journalist.

Finding

The complaint is dismissed.

Appeal

The 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 Ombud