On 24 February 2020 Moneyweb published with the headline: Irba reports Nova to Sars and CIPC.
The article focussed on the Independent Regulatory Board of Auditors’ (Irba) referral of a reportable irregularity (RI) related to the Nova Property Group to the South African Revenue Service (Sars) and the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) for investigation.
The Nova Property Group, through its chairman Mr Connie Myburgh, lodged a complaint with the Press Ombud on March 4, 2020, regarding this article. This complaint formed part of six main complaints the Nova Property Group lodged with the Ombud regarding various Moneyweb reports.
Mr Johan Retief, acting Assistant Ombud, dismissed five of the six complaints but found Moneyweb’s subheadline of the 24 February the article was in breach of the Press Code.
The sub-headline read: “Sharemax rescue vehicle to be investigated for possible transgressions of tax legislation and the Companies Act.”
Mr Retief found that: “The statement, of fact, that Nova was ‘…to be investigated (for possible transgressions of tax legislation and the Companies Act)’ turned a possibility into a certainty. This was in breach of Section 1.3 that reads, … opinions, allegations, rumours or suppositions shall be presented clearly as such’.”
The Acting Assistant Ombud ruled that this was a Tier 2 offence.
Moneyweb, therefore, apologises to Mr Myburgh and the Nova Property Group for stating, as a fact, that it was “…to be investigated (for possible transgressions of tax legislation and the Companies Act)”.