Business Maverick

Business Maverick

Apology: Eskom Pension and Provident Fund (EPPF)

Between January and March this year, Business Maverick published various articles pertaining to potential administration and governance problems at the EPPF. Here are the headlines and dates of some of these publications:

Article 1: Eskom is facing another demon in the dark — its R140bn pension fund (9 January 2020);

Article 2: How the Eskom Pension and Provident Fund is being milked (27 January 2020);


Article 3: Brian Molefe’s Eskom Retirement Fund saga is just the Tip of an Iceberg (6 February 2020);

Article 4: Court documents suggest the Eskom Pension and Provident Fund is in crisis (25 February 2020); and

Article  5: South Africa: Untangling a Conflict of Interests At the Eskom Pension and Provident Fund (1 March 2020).

Acting Assistant Press Ombud Johan Retief found that Business Maverick consistently neglected to  give the EPPF an opportunity to respond to specific allegations which were of a serious nature, which was in breach of the following sections of the Press Code:

1.1: “The media shall take care to report news … fairly”;  and

1.8: “The media shall seek, if practicable, the views of the subject of critical reportage in advance of publication…”  and “… a subject [ of critical reportage] should be afforded reasonable time to respond; if unable to obtain comment, this shall be stated.”

Furthermore, Retief  inter alia found that the BM did not publish its responses to the reporter’s subsequent attempt to give it a right of reply. This was in breach of Section1.9 of the Press Code which states that, where a report is based on limited information, it should be supplemented “once new information becomes available”.

The Busines Maverick was directed to apologise to the EPPF and to all those individuals who were affected by the reportage for repeatedly and unfairly neglecting to give them a right of reply to serious allegations levelled against them. The apology is to be published on the front page of the Business Maverick for at least three days. The Business Maverick was further directed to provide the EPPF with a right of reply not exceeding 600 words.

The  EPPF’s complaint and Retief’s adjudication does not pertain to the merits of the allegations levelled against the Fund. “Given the seriousness of the matter, this office should do nothing to dampen BM’s attempts at getting to the truth and reporting it without fear or prejudice. On the whole, the publication should be commended for pursuing the matter – it certainly is in the public interest,” he said.

Business Maverick unreservedly apologises to the EPPF and to all those individuals who were affected by the reportage for repeatedly and unfairly neglecting to give them a right of reply to serious allegations levelled against them. We also recognise the significant distress our reporting caused the EPPF’s pensioners. The EPPF’s right of reply to the allegations can be found here

Visit www.presscouncil.org.za for the full finding.

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  • I sincerely hope to see improved compliance with fairness and right of response from DM articles. Good governance requires testing by interviews and discussion with the parties.