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Sunday Times

Sunday Times

The Sunday Times is South Africa’s largest Sunday newspaper. The Sunday Times was established in 1906 and is available in South Africa as well as in neighboring countries like Lesotho and Botswana.
The Sunday Times, a sister publication to the Rand Daily Mail that was at the time “standing alone” against the rival Transvaal Leader, was published for the first time on February 4, 1906.

George Herbert Kingswell, the founder editor, introduced the slogan “A Paper for the People”. Later, it was changed to “The Paper for the People”, which is still used today. The paper’s first edition, published on February 4, 1906, saw 11,600 copies printed. They quickly sold out and the paper was forced to print another 5000 copies. The paper’s sales had increased to 35 000 by November 1909.

Jani Allan, a former columnist for Sunday Times, sued Channel 4 in 1992 for libel regarding alleged affair allegations that she and Eugene Terre’Blanche were involved in. Allan had previously interviewed the AWB leader to the Sunday Times. Allan had previously settled similar claims out of court with Options magazine and London Evening Standard. Marlene Burger, the newspaper’s former news editor, and Linda Shaw, a newspaper astrologist, testified against Allan.

Allan had previously published articles in the newspaper discrediting the allegations of affair. Allan allowed the newspaper to publish Terre’Blanche’s answerphone messages as well as her threats to take legal action against Terre’Blanche for nuisance contacts. Allan lost the case.

The judge ruled that Allan had not been defamed, but didn’t conclude if an affair took place. This case was well-known for its violence and dirty tricks campaign. Publications like the Financial Mail and Allan speculated that the De Klerk regime paid the defence witnesses to try to destabilize the far-right in South Africa. Shaw recalled Ken Owen, her editor’s reaction to the case. “When I returned from London.

Owen stood in front of the newsroom, and stated that Owen had single-handedly destroyed every journalist’s reputation in the country. We were the laughing stock.

Zuma Accused


Sunday Times reported on 13 November 2005 that Jacob Zuma, leader of the African National Congress (ANC), was under investigation for rape allegations. Zuma was said to have considered legal action against the newspaper, but it was later revealed that an investigation was actually underway. Zuma was charged with rape on December 6, 2005.

Later, he would be cleared of all charges.

It was reported on 5 November 2007 that a consortium consisting of senior government officials had launched a bid for 100% of Avusa (previously Johncom), which is the company that owns the Sunday Times.

Zuma sued the newspaper for 6 million Rand in March 2007 over two columns written by David Bullard. Zuma cited the columns “Stupidity, a mitigating circumstances for Zuma”, published 16 April 2006 and “Visit Zuma’s website to see what it meant” (7 May 2006), as they were defamatory, and an “imperfection of his dignity”. While David Bullard was found to have been operating within The Sunday Times’ ethical guidelines regarding the columns, he would later lose favor with Editor Mondli Makhanya.

Bullard was fired by the Sunday Times on 10 April 2008 after he published a column that appeared 6 April 2008. (Uncolonized Africa wouldn’t know what was missing). This was met with strong protest from many political parties. Bullard’s column was published by the Sunday Times. The editor apologized for his error and stated that “by publishing him (Bullard), we were complicit with disseminating Stone Age philosophies”.

The Sunday Times was once again attacked in September 2008 for publishing a controversial piece by Jonathon Shapiro (Zapiro). The cartoon showed Jacob Zuma getting ready for rape while being assisted and supported by leaders from various ANC political factions and parties.

Zapiro denied that Jacob Zuma was depicted in the cartoon as a rapist and denied that he had been convicted of rape. Various ANC officials criticized the Sunday Times editor and its author. The ANC, South African Communist Party, and the ANC Youth League issued a joint press release in which they lambasted Sunday Times editor. They called him a dictator and demanded his replacement.

Tertius Myburgh, the ex-editor of the newspaper was charged with being an apartheid era spy in 2015. John Matisonn, a veteran journalist, made the allegations in his book, God, Spies and Lies. Finding South Africa’s Future through its Past. Jani Allan, a former editor of the Daily Maverick, supported the accusations against her in the same year.

List of Sunday Times Editors

1906-1909: George Herbert Kingswell, the founding editor of The Sunday Times and Rand Daily Mail, launched them for Sir Abe Bailey. Kingswell declined the initial job offer at The Rand Daily Mail (The Fourth Estate Joel Mervis), and instead sought to start a weekly newspaper.

1909-1910: Lewis Rose Macleod is named editor.

1910-1942: Joseph Langley Levy was a leading cultural figure in Johannesburg and a drama critic. He was born in Liverpool on 25 May 1887. The Sunday Times was his editor for 32 years. During that time, the circulation grew from 35,000 to 150,000. It reached every province and covered villages and towns spread over an area of nearly half-a-million miles. He died in Johannesburg, 11 May 1945.

1942-1947: E.B. ‘Chook” Dawson – he is remembered as the paper’s first’shirtsleeves editor’. He was a journalist who detested ostentation in prose and people. He was also remembered for his heroic actions in saving a fellow soldier’s life in the epic battle of World War I.

1947-1958: N. A. G. Caley appointed editor

1959-1975: Joel Mervis was credited with transforming South Africa’s Sunday Times into the most popular and influential weekly during his tenure as editor.

1975-1990: Albert Tertius Myburgh, 26 December 1936 – 2 Dec 1990), was a South African journalist editor and editor. He is best known for his role as editor of Sunday Times. After 15 years, Myburgh was resigned from his position as Sunday Times editor in September 1990. His next job was to be an ambassador to Washington and London. He was later diagnosed with terminal cancer four days later and died at home that December.

1991-1996: Ken Owen named editor.

1996-1998: Brian Pottinger served as the vice-chair of the South African National Editor’s Forum from 1996 to 1998. He was appointed the Sunday Times publisher in 2000 and became the Times Newspapers Limited managing director. He was chief executive officer for the Africa Division of Johnnic Communications Limited from 2003 to 2007.

1998-2000: Mike Robertson served as the editor and associate publishers for Sunday Times from 1998 to 2000. He was the deputy editor, chief assistant editors, assistant editor, and political correspondent of the newspaper. He is the Sunday Times publisher and managing director for the media operations of Times Media Group.

2002-2003: Mathatha Tsedu served as the deputy editor for the Sunday Independent, then the Star’s deputy editor, and finally, the Deputy Chief Executive of the SABC News before becoming the Sunday Times editor in 2002. He was fired as Sunday Times editor in 2003. The SA National Editors Forum announced Mathatha Tesu as its executive director in 2014.

2004-2010: Mondli Makhanya was elected editor of Sunday Times. He is a political writer and editor. In 2002, he was appointed Mail & Guardian editor before joining Sunday Times in 2004. Makhanya was promoted to Editor-in-Chief of Avusa Media newspapers in 2010 (which included Sunday World, Sowetan and The Times).

2010-2013: Ray Hartley, the founder editor of The Times’ daily newspaper in 2007, was elected Editor in 2010. He then became Editor in Sunday Times in 2010, following Makhanya’s departure. As editor of Sunday Times, Hartley won almost all the awards, including the Taco Kuiper and Standard Bank Sivukile awards for investigative journalism. Hartley is currently the Times Media Group’s editor at large and launched the Rand Daily Mail website back in 2014.

2013-2015: Phylicia Opelt was elected the first woman editor of Sunday Times. Oppelt served as editor of The Daily Dispatch between 2005 and 2008, and as the editor of Business Times between 2008-2010. Oppelt was named editor of The Times in 2010. The Times had been launched under Hartley’s editorship in June 2007.

2016-2020: Bongani Siko is the ex-editor of the award-winning Daily Dispatch. Since November 2004, he has worked at Daily Dispatch. He was the news editor, managing editor and deputy editor before he was appointed editor in June 2013. He is a City University London graduate in International Journalism.

2020 to present: S’thembiso Masomi was appointed editor for the first quarter 2020. Msomi is a journalist with 24 years experience. He was the editor of The Sowetan for two year prior to his latest appointment. Msomi, who was previously deputy editor of the Sunday Times, returns to that position. He was also the political editor for the Sunday Times and City Press. He is also the author of an unauthorised biography about the former leader of the DA, Mmusi Maimane.