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The Observer Says...

We fully acknowledge Tuesday’s boo -boo

We know we can never match the dubious achievements of all-time champion mistake-makers who take the title with them to the gallows of journalistic Hades, but we have to own up to the foul-up we committed on our Tuesday edition, where we named victims of alleged serial rapist, Mcondisi Sinaza Simelane.

Simelane appeared at the Manzini Magistrate’s Court facing 17 counts that included aggravated rape and robbery. He confessed to have committed some of the heinous offences, but insisted not all of them.

The mistake we made by publishing the names of the victims offended the basic tenets of responsible journalism and we are nowhere near the not guilty, hence we take full responsibility for the glitch and pledge to you dear reader, that we will work hard to make sure we are never again caught with our guard off.

We did not expect to receive a ticker-tape parade for publishing the story, as that is our basic duty, but what is not, was the bloop we then committed, thus administering a double dose of trauma to the victims.

Such things do happen in the minefield of such a profession, but they should be in no way condoned, which is why every publication must have in place mechanisms to ensure that such does not happen.

This is our mea culpa, pronounced from the deepest chambers of our convictions, while we state to the victims that it was never intended.

We will, in the future, strive to wipe the slate clean of errors and start the new year fresh. We intend to do almost everything right in our lives and not get famous the "wrong" way.

Indeed, the only decent thing we could do after mixing up the rules is to draw our own sword and hang ourselves, but then again, as we said before, such things do happen, and the only honourable way to go about them is to admit responsibility so you can work towards not committing the same mistake again.

Smoke simply got into our eyes and we had some sort of journalistic breakdown hence we believe that acknowledging the boo-boo is the most reasonable thing to do.

While it was obviously not deliberate, it was a bad mistake and capable of causing great distress to the victims and their families, which is why we believe the error we committed fully deserves a formal apology, and we hope it will be accepted.

We believe this expression of regret or apology appropriately matches the scale of the error. Apologising is not an exact science but one based on experience and common sense.

We are also fully aware of detractors who may be having the time of their lives by hauling us over live coals due to this snafu, but we fully understand that it is part of the terrain, and we can only hope to prove them wrong by working extra hard to ensure that such howlers do not happen in the future.

As a result, we unreservedly apologise to all we have offended and strongly say it was not intentional. 

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