PLEASE NOTE: This is an English translation of a Vrye Weekblad notice offered to readers for their convenience. Read the original Afrikaans version here.
We refer to a story published in Vrye Weekblad of 7 June titled “Abalone: gangster trade flourishes amid the tentacles of corruption”.
In this story, freelance journalist John Grobler stated that Sammy Brett was a member of Ernie “Lastig" Solomons' 28’s gang, and a key facilitator for Solomon in the allocation of concessions. In addition, Grobler referenced a photograph that had circulated on social media in which Mr Brett was seen with former agriculture and fisheries minister Senzeni Zokwana and Overberg ANC MP Mgcina Tebele. He said the photograph implied a corrupt relationship with the minister who has oversight of the abalone industry.
Grobler did not offer Mr Brett the opportunity to respond to these allegations before the story was published. We unreservedly apologise for this.
Mr Brett, through his lawyers, denies any connection with the “Numbers Gang” or any involvement in the “illegal abalone trade”. According to him any connection that he had to this trade, in the past, was ended in 2001. According to him he is now in possession of legally obtained permits to harvest abalone within the legal limits.”