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City Press apol­o­gises to vicechan­cel­lor Pro­fes­sor Peter Mbati and the Univer­sity of Venda (Univen) for re­port­ing in three ar­ti­cles (two news sto­ries and an opin­ion piece) the al­le­ga­tion that for­mer dean of the School of Ed­u­ca­tion, Pro­fes­sor Thidzi­ambi Phendla, was charged with cor­rup­tion only af­ter she had brought a com­plaint of sex­ual ha­rass­ment against Mbati, and that the lat­ter had hounded her out of a job on trumped-up charges with­out giv­ing her a right to re­ply.

City Press fur­ther apol­o­gises for omit­ting to re­port the con­tent of a court or­der, specif­i­cally the fact that the agree­ment stip­u­lated that all the neg­a­tive state­ments made in the Com­mis­sion for Gen­der Equal­ity’s re­port against Mbati be ex­cised. This in­cludes that there was suf­fi­cient ev­i­dence of a ro­man­tic re­la­tion­ship be­tween him and Phendla.

City Press apol­o­gises for the un­nec­es­sary dam­age these re­ports, state­ments and omis­sions have done to Mbati’s dig­nity and the univer­sity’s rep­u­ta­tion.

The Of­fice of the Press Ombudsman and a panel of ad­ju­di­ca­tors also rep­ri­manded City Press for not ask­ing Mbati and the univer­sity for com­ment on state­ments that Phendla had been hounded out of her job on trumpedup charges; for largely fail­ing to ver­ify Phendla’s ver­sion of events; and for not cap­tur­ing Univen’s re­sponse to the ef­fect that charges were brought against Phendla only af­ter she had brought a charge of sex­ual ha­rass­ment against Mbati.

Other com­plaints, such as the ref­er­ence in the opin­ion piece that Phendla had been vin­di­cated by the court; the re­port­ing that the Com­mis­sion for Gen­der Equal­ity’s re­port was “scathing” on Mbati; that the court en­forced the Com­mis­sion for Gen­der Equal­ity’s rec­om­men­da­tion to be im­ple­mented; and that Univen did not com­ply with the court or­der, were all dis­missed. Visit press­coun­cil.org.za

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