M&G made a Brief er­ror

Mail & Guardian - - Comment & Analysis -

It is very un­for­tu­nate that the Mail & Guardian re­ported that a home af­fairs of­fi­cial tore up the pass­port of a 16-year-old from Zim­babwe (In Brief, Novem­ber 2). As far as I know, this has not been es­tab­lished as fact.

It’s also not cor­rect to re­port that a home af­fairs of­fi­cial ap­peared in court this week. No of­fi­cial ap­peared in court in this re­gard.

On Oc­to­ber 31, GroundUp pub­lished an up­date in which it shared com­ment re­ceived from home af­fairs, con­trary to the be­lief of the un­named “ex­perts” in the M&G’s piece, who al­lege, fig­u­ra­tively or oth­er­wise, that “a year is but a day in the depart­ment’s sched­ule”.

Oc­ca­sion­ally, we re­ceive me­dia in­quiries from the M&G. To the best of our abil­ity, these are at­tended to. Where suf­fi­cient time was re­quired to in­ves­ti­gate, or to seek guid­ance from rel­e­vant busi­ness units, an ex­ten­sion was ac­cord­ingly re­quested. This was the case also in re­spect of the me­dia in­quiry we re­ceived from GroundUp, which obliged, by the way. As ex­plained to GroundUp, from which the M&G sourced its re­port, the depart­ment re­ceived a no­tice of mo­tion. It noted al­le­ga­tions made against cer­tain of­fi­cials and it will be fil­ing its pa­pers in due course.

With­out ven­tur­ing into the mer­its, we should, at the very least, ask: Why would the child be asked “to ap­ply for a Ger­man study visa” as re­ported in the M&G? GroundUp it­self says the child has been at Zon­nebloem Nest High School in South Africa.

South African au­thor­i­ties can only is­sue study visas for study in this coun­try. I think it would as­sist to fa­mil­iarise our­selves first with the is­sues be­fore draw­ing con­clu­sions or ap­por­tion­ing blame.

In the man­ner that your re­port is con­structed, a reader may be par­doned for think­ing this whole mat­ter is about the fic­ti­tious court ap­pear­ance of an of­fi­cial. — ■ The M&G’s brief ac­count, in its round-up of the week’s news, was drawn from GroundUp, and we were in­ac­cu­rate in that we did not make it clear that these were al­le­ga­tions made against home af­fairs and not es­tab­lished fact. We apol­o­gise for the er­ror.

News­wor­thy: A reader ques­tions why the hor­rors of the civil war in Ye­men, such as the re­cent bomb­ing of a bus car­ry­ing chil­dren, do not make the head­lines.

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