The Southern African Times
30 Apr 2023
South African businessman, Zunaid Moti, has spoken out against allegations made by investigative journalism organisations, The Sentry, and South African investigative journalism outfit Amabhungane, accusing him of economic crimes involving his dealings with African Chrome Fields, a chrome mining operation based in Zimbabwe. Moti has accused the journalists of unethical, unprofessional, and even illegal reporting and insists that the allegations are without any real evidence or proof.
The report was based on a batch of stolen documents provided by a former employee with criminal connections, Clinton van Niekerk, which was later confirmed by Paul O’Sullivan, a digital forensic firm, to be over 4,000 confidential documents stolen last year in litigation against the Moti Group. Criminal charges have been laid against van Niekerk for the theft of the documents in Zimbabwe and South Africa, and the investigation remains ongoing.
Moti has said that he was not given the opportunity to authenticate or verify the documents and accused the journalists of ignoring evidence that contradicted their allegations. Despite his legal counsel warning the journalists that the documents were stolen and should not be relied upon for information, they refused to share them for verification, denying Moti and his legal team the opportunity to reply or rebut their source material.
In response to the allegations, Moti emphasised that African Chrome Fields had not received any preferential treatment or benefits outside of the ordinary course of business and that all concessions were obtained through the proper channels in accordance with all relevant regulations. He said that the allegations made by The Sentry and Amabhungane were damaging to his reputation and to the standing of African Chrome Fields.
Moti has challenged the journalists to back their claims with evidence and called for fair, balanced, and non-biased reporting from the media. He emphasized that he has no wish to silence or impede the media but expects them to report fairly and responsibly.
The allegations made by The Sentry and Amabhungane have raised questions about the use of stolen documents in investigative journalism. While the journalists involved have defended their reporting, the issue of using illegally obtained documents raises ethical concerns.
Moti’s legal team has said that they are considering legal action against The Sentry and Amabhungane over the allegations. They have also called for a full investigation into the theft of the documents and the motives behind their release.
The controversy highlights the need for responsible journalism and the importance of ensuring that allegations are based on credible evidence. As the media continues to play a critical role in holding the powerful accountable, it is essential that journalists adhere to the highest ethical standards and ensure that their reporting is fair, balanced, and non-biased.
In the meantime, the allegations against Moti and African Chrome Fields remain under investigation. It is up to the authorities to determine whether there is any evidence of wrongdoing and, if so, to take appropriate action. The public deserves to know the truth, and it is up to the media to ensure that they report it accurately and responsibly.