Mat­ter of fact

The Citizen (KZN) - - News -

On 27 Jan­uary, we pub­lished a re­port un­der the head­line “Health min­is­ter ap­points niece im­pli­cated in cor­rup­tion to top post”, deal­ing with the ap­point­ment of Sibu­sisiwe Ngubane-Zulu as chief of staff in the na­tional health de­part­ment.

We have re­ceived a com­plaint from Ngubane-Zulu re­gard­ing the head­line and the ar­ti­cle, as be­ing defam­a­tory and mis­lead­ing and the al­le­ga­tions of cor­rup­tion and nepo­tism be­ing un­truth­ful and un­founded. On the first point, The

Citizen con­cedes that it was mis­lead­ing for the head­line and ar­ti­cle to de­scribe her as be­ing “im­pli­cated in cor­rup­tion”. We are aware that Ngubane-Zulu was cleared of al­le­ga­tions of cor­rup­tion in an in­ves­ti­ga­tion by Price­wa­ter­house­C­oop­ers con­ducted on be­half of the PIC Com­mis­sion. This in­ves­ti­ga­tion found no sub­stance to these al­le­ga­tions and that there was no ev­i­dence of im­pro­pri­ety and crim­i­nal con­duct.

On the sec­ond point, we posed a ques­tion to the de­part­ment’s spokesper­son Popo Maja, ask­ing him if Ngubane-Zulu was re­lated to the min­is­ter. Maja did not re­spond to the ques­tion.

We re­lied on re­ports by other publi­ca­tions on the alleged fam­ily re­la­tion­ship with­out ver­i­fi­ca­tion. We also did not con­tact Ngubane-Zulu to ask her. We now re­alise that this was an er­ror.

Ngubane-Zulu in her com­plaint to the press om­buds­man has ex­plic­itly de­nied be­ing the min­is­ter’s niece. We there­fore apol­o­gise to Ngubane-Zulu for these er­rors and re­tract the ar­ti­cle as pub­lished.

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