Cape Town lawyer Christine Qunta has welcomed the Sunday Times'
retraction of defamatory statements made by the newspaper against her,
saying the apology was proof that the principle of media accountability
was being upheld, according to a report on

Also welcoming an apology and retraction from the Sunday Times was author Ronald Suresh Roberts, who said the conduct of the newspaper had been "shameful".

Qunta's lawyer Athol Gordon said in a statement on Monday: "My client is pleased that the principle of media accountability has been upheld in this instance, following her approach to the Ombudsman.

"The… apology highlights, in her opinion, the ongoing crisis of internal controls and professional standards in sections of the media as well as the ability of political parties and lobby groups to exploit these weaknesses with malicious intent."

'We apologise for the errors and for any embarrassment they have caused'
In its September 30 edition, the Sunday Times published a profile on Qunta headlined "So how dangerous is the Queen of Racial Politics?" where it cited her as one of the 12 signatories to a petition supporting President Thabo Mbeki in the HIV and Aids denial debate.

The article also suggested that the SABC deputy chairperson came to President Mbeki's defence when he accused leading ANC figures of plotting to topple him.

Qunta, who has recently been under attack from certain quarters for her involvement in a company of which one of the directors is accused of selling untested herbs purported to cure HIV Aids, then responded by lodging a compliant with the Ombudsmen, charging that the article was false and defamatory.

"The article is in fact not a profile but an attempt to influence public opinion against me through innuendo, half truths and outright lies," she said in her complaint to the Ombudsman.

Qunta's action resulted in the Sunday Times publishing an apology in its October 7 Sunday edition, retracting the defamatory statements made against her.

Click here to read the full report, posted on