Cato Manor: Sunday Times places its final bet

Cato Manor: Sunday Times places its final bet

If we were played, then we were not alone, says newspaper’s legal editor.

In a recent defence of the Sunday Times investigative unit, the newspaper’s legal editor Susan Smuts sought the consolation of company in their dilemma: “If you claim we were played, then you have to ask that same question of the well-respected journalist Fred Kockott who was short-listed for the Taco Kuiper award in 2010 for his piece about one of the main tenets of the case against Cato Manor, the killing of taxi driver Bongani Mkhize. [It appeared in the Sunday Tribune.] Mkhize went to court to get an interdict stopping the police from killing him, and he was still killed by the Cato Manor unit members…”

The trouble is, he wasn’t killed by members of the Cato Manor unit. But that comes at the end of our story. We need to begin at the beginning.

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Reader's comments

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Submitted by : Paul Osullivan of jhb on 2015-01-26 20:40:17
Ray Hartley, are you reading this stuff?
What is your comment?
Submitted by : HAZEL WOODWARD of Cape Town on 2015-01-26 16:25:34
It was infuriating to see how Mzilkazi Wa Afrika resorted to name calling and basically running away when asked to explain himself (at the book launch, hosted by Charles King). Obviously 'The Sunday Times' must pay back the prize money.
Submitted by : Martin Welz on 2015-01-26 15:27:06
Jacques Pauw, the journalist renowned for having exposed the real police hit squads of the Apartheid era (at considerable risk to himself) has described the Sunday Times investigative "team" who more recently claimed to have exposed a criminal police death-squad-for-hire as "a disgrace to SA journalism" . He goes on to suggest that the Sunday Times must pay back the huge sums in prize money they have won on the back of the Cato Manor story.
Here's what Pauw posted on FaceBook on 24 January 2014:
Jacob Zuma is not the only one that should pay back money. The Sunday Times "investigative unit" is a disgrace to SA journalism. In December 2011, the newspaper's headline screamed: SHOOT TO KILL: INSIDE A SA POLICE DEATH SQUAD. It became known as the so-called Cato Manor death squad story. They exposed a bunch of gun-totting cops that mowed down whatever came in their sights. A very respected policeman, Gen Johan Booysen was arrested, charged and suspended. The journalist trio of Rob Rose, Stephan Hofstatter and Mzilikazi Wa Afrika won the Taco Kuiper award and R200,000 for this story. It has emerged over the past months that they not just got the story wrong, but that they acted maliciously in fingering Booysen and his men. All charges against Booysen has already been withdrawn. A judge ruled that he had been maliciously prosecuted and that there was no case against him. TheSunday Times legal editor, Susan Smuts, recently said that if the newspaper were played, they were not the only one. As though that's an excuse. Noseweek has for months [years] now written about the inept bungling of the Times in reporting the story. What I want to know is what the very respected Taco Kuiper judges are going to do about the reward they (wrongly) bestowed on the Sunday Times. Don't expect the three journalists to admit to any wrongdoing. They have shown time and time again over the past two years (Cato Manor, Zimbabwe renditions, SARS spy story) that they are being politically manipulated and have little integrity
Submitted by : Chris Corns of Winsford on 2015-01-25 18:20:23
At what point does this institutional corruption involving police, politicians and prosecutors reach a critical mass leading to the absolute failure of the state? Should civil society start preparing itself to take over the management of South Africa......
Submitted by : Peter Robinson of LONDON on 2015-01-24 06:37:12
Wonderful, clear and brave reporting - thank you.


Peter Robinson (Beijing)
Submitted by : Lloyd Macklin of Vaal Marina on 2015-01-23 12:12:47
Mzilkazi Wa Afrika in his book "Nothing left to Steal' launched a scathing attack on the DA for not condemning Booysen and the so called death squads. Has he since apologised?

Editor's Note
No. He says all those critical of his reporting on the Cato Manor story are racist, and that Noseweek has been "stalking" him. (I asked him a question on the subject at a book launch event in Cape Town. When invited to a debate the subject by a member of the audience, he refused.) - Editor


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