In 2018 an explosive expose revealed that South African newspapers were disseminating fake news, this came as no surprise to police Captain Jake Smit, who had been the victim of false Sunday Siren allegations. Jake was an Afrikaner who’d been brought up amongst the Zulu, he spoke Zulu fluently and was recognized by police, as an authority on Zulu traditions. Along with Peter Khumalo his trusted Zulu Sergeant, Captain Jake Smit kept the peace in rural Umuzi, now he had to deal with an outbreak of killing that froze the district in fear.
Because the slaughter was reputed to be the work of the Impundulu, a legendary Lightning Bird that struck lightning off its talons, and fed off human blood. Compounding the problem was Sunday Siren editor Mondli Mampara, who was diverting attention from an illegal organ harvesting ring, by publishing ‘death squad’ stories about the investigating police captain. So Jake Smit approached journalist Marlin Madison, who discovered illegal organ harvesting by French transplant Doctor Silvio Sarkoy, covered up by the Sunday Siren.
Resulting in editor Mondli Mampara being dismissed, and an end to the fake news ‘Cato Manor death squad,’ hopefully this has taught the media a lesson. In 2023 Reporters sans Borders press index, rated South Africa freer than Britain or Australia, also most of Europe and America. Yet the International Bar Association and the International Association of Prosecutors, are beginning to wonder if the local system of media self-regulation and internal control, is truly fair comment or merely a pseudonym for media dictatorship and social control?