In a story published on February 5 – headlined ‘I lost R33 000 to dodgy debit orders’ – businessman Julius Cobbett reported that Port Nolloth businessman Koos Smit claimed he had lost more than R30 000 to dodgy debit orders that had been paid to Platinum Credit Card Corporation (PC3).
Moneyweb said: “Despite its poor track record, PC3 remains a client of debit-order company Stratcol. This grants it access to the banking system through Stratcol’s sponsor bank Absa.”
Stratcol CEO Hennie Heymans lodged a complaint with the Press Ombudsman about these statements. A hearing was subsequently held on March 26.
The Adjudication Panel said that the use of the words “despite its poor track record” placed Stratcol in a negative context – making it the subject of critical reportage, which in turn meant that Moneyweb should have asked Heymans for comment (as required by Section 2.5 of the Press Code).
The neglect to do so resulted in Moneyweb not exercising “care and consideration in matters involving … reputation” (Section 4.2 of the Press Code).
Moneyweb apologises for not asking Heymans or Stratcol for comment, and for the unnecessary harm that this may have caused the reputation of this company.
Visit www.presscouncil.org.za for the full finding.