Editorial: The Sunday Times gets played - again

Our cover story reveals how, once again, the Sunday Times has allowed itself to be “played”, blackmailed and even bribed into publishing a pseudo exposé supposedly researched by its star investigative team. The dust has yet to settle on its now generally discredited Cato Manor “death squad” exposés, but that has not inhibited the paper launching another – this time aimed at getting rid of the top management of the SA Revenue Service (SARS).

On closer examination, the newspaper’s series of articles on an alleged “rogue” spy unit at SARS emerge as shabby propaganda campaign designed to provide justification for a corrupt government to fire senior staff who might have enough independence to pose a threat, and to replace them with compliant cronies.

On Monday 10 November last year, a day after the Sunday Times “exposéd” the Sars investigations unit as, inter alia, allegedly having operated a brothel, newly appointed SARS commissioner Tom Moyane suspended the unit's head, Johan van Loggerenberg, and decalred that he would nonger be taking advice from his executive team that included deputyy commissioner Ivan Pillay and chief officer for strategy Pete Richer.  He is quoted as telling them ata staff meeting: “These [Sunday Times] stories and the allegations they contain bring SARS into extreme disrepute… I met the minister of finance on Sunday. We agreed that the current climate cannot be allowed to continue.”

Was he reading from the Cato Manor script?

SARS officials immediately started preparing a line-by-line rebuttal of the articles, but Moyane stopped them with the following text message to SARS company secretary Dr Giorgio Radesich: “Why are you conspiring against the Commissioner?”                                                                    ►The Editor

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