Editor tells of threatening phone calls after publishing Bosasa stories
News24 editor-in-chief Adriaan Basson told the state capture inquiry on Tuesday that he had received threatening phone calls from Bosasa staff, after publishing a series of stories on the controversial prison facilities company in 2009.
Basson, who worked at the Mail & Guardian at the time, detailed two “episodes” that occurred after publishing various articles on how Bosasa was unduly awarded lucrative tenders from the department of correctional services.
“There was a period, during that time, that I started receiving calls on my cellphone. There were a lot of these calls, they came during the day and night. Sometimes the calls were from a number visible on my phone. There were also unknown numbers and also landlines,” he said.
“The message of these calls was always a person claiming they are a Bosasa employee, saying that I am threatening their jobs. I must stop my reportage on Bosasa. Some of the callers accused me of racism, that I was only doing these articles because I’m white and I’m a racist.”
Around February 2009, while on holiday with his now wife, Basson said he received a call from a person he later established to be Benedicta Dube. Basson said Dube had information about where he lived, the identities of his friends and family members, and records of his education.
“She wanted to warn me about my investigations into Bosasa. She then proceeded to attempt to convince me that she’s helping me ... She proceeded to tell me how dangerous Bosasa was. I was perturbed by the call. My conclusion was this was a Bosasa operation to intimidate and threaten me,” Basson said.