Cape Times

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Cape Times
Cape Times Logo
Cape Times frontpage 20080919.jpg
The front page of the Cape Times of 19 September 2008
TypeDaily newspaper
Owner(s)Independent News and Media SA
EditorSiyavuya Mzantsi[1]
News editorAshfak Mohamed
Sports editorIan Smit
Founded27 March 1876
HeadquartersNewspaper House, Cape Town, South Africa
Circulation34 523
Sister newspapersCape Argus

The Cape Times is an English-language morning newspaper owned by Independent News & Media SA and published in Cape Town, South Africa.

As of 2012 the newspaper had a daily readership of 261 000[2] and a circulation of 34 523.[3] By the fourth quarter of 2014, circulation had declined to 31 930.[4]


The Cape Times had its origins in the great economic and social boom years that followed the Cape's attainment of "Responsible Government" (local democracy) in 1872.[5] The first edition of the newspaper, a small four-page sheet, was published on 27 March 1876 by then editor Frederick York St Leger. St Leger was assisted by Richard William Murray Jnr, whose father of the same name had been one of the founding partners of the Cape Argus.[6] It was the first daily paper in southern Africa, and soon became one of the principal newspapers of the Cape.[7] Modelled on The Times, its primary target was the poor working class, as it attempted to expose early government corruption.

Later bought by Irish group Independent News and Media, the South African portion, including the Cape Times, was sold to Sekunjalo Investments (Independent News and Media SA) in 2013.


  • Business Report (Mon-Fri)[8]
  • Career Times (Mon)[8]
  • Drive Times (Thur)[8]
  • Top Of The Times (Fri)[8]
  • Book Times (Once a month)[8]
  • Escape (Once a month)[8]
  • Health Times (Once a month)[8]
  • Play (Once a month)[8]


On April 16, 2013 the Cape Times was cautioned by the Press Ombudsman "for untruthfully, inaccurately and unfairly suggesting that a poll showed that the majority of [Israeli] Jews believed that the Jewish state was practicing apartheid." The poll related to a hypothetical situation, whether Palestinians living in the West Bank should be allowed to vote if Israel annexed the territory, rather than the way that Israel was actually being governed at the time. The newspaper was directed to correct its mistake after a complaint by Sidney Kay.[9]

On 28 June 2016 The Press Ombudsman found "The Cape Times has repeatedly made this totally false allegation (stated as fact) on its front page over the course of several months, beginning in November last year." [10] In July 2016 the Cape Times was again ordered to issue a front-page apology to Premier Helen Zille, after making false allegations that she hired a spy. Despite this, the newspaper has failed to comply with the previous order, as handed down by Judge Bernard Ngoepe, Chair of the Press Council's Appeals Panel.[11]

16 August 2017, veteran journalist Ed Herbst debunked Cape Times claims of it receiving awards, "has run a series of front-page articles claiming that an international media organisation, Newseum, has rated the front page of the Iqbal Survé-owned newspaper as among the best in the world." The reports turned out to be untrue.[12]

Famous staff and contributors[edit]

Distribution areas[edit]

2008 2013
Eastern Cape Y Y
Free State
Kwa-Zulu Natal
North West
Northern Cape
Western Cape Y Y

Distribution figures[edit]

Net Sales
Oct - Dec 2015 33 030[15]
Jun - Aug 2015 31 200[15]
Jan - Mar 2015 32 371[16]
Oct - Dec 2014 31 930[4]
Jan - Mar 2014 33 986[16]
Oct - Dec 2012 34 627
Jul - Sep 2012 34 523
Apr - Jun 2012 37 948
Jan - Mar 2012 42 139

Readership figures[edit]

Estimates of readership are maintained by the SAARF with 95% confidence intervals of about 15%. Within the estimated error readership has remained constant since 2009. Methodological changes introduced in 2009 by SAARF make comparison to previous years difficult.[17]

Estimated Readership[18]
'000s ± '000 (95%)
Jan '09 - Dec '09 215 33
Jul '09 - Jun '10 253 36
Jan '10 - Dec '10 268 37
Jul '10 - Jun '11 231 35
Jan '11 - Dec '11 225 33
Jul '11 - Jun '12 261 36
Jan '12 - Dec '12 258 36
Jul '12 - Jun '13 251 38
Dec '13 215 35
Jun '14 200 33
Dec '14 235 36
Jun '15 234 36

Sekunjalo Investments[edit]

Two controversies have plagued the paper since its takeover by Sekunjalo Investments in 2013. Most notable of which have been the firing of Cape Times editor Alide Dasnois in December 2013 and accusations of pro-ANC bias in January 2015.

Right2Know Campaign and other civil society organisations hold a picket outside Newspaper House to protest against the replacement of Cape Times editor Alide Dasnois. Also present at the demonstration are counter-demonstrators (waving printed red, white, and black placards) demonstrating in favour of the replacement of Dasnois.

On 6 December 2013, the Cape Times led with a front-page article on the Public Protector's report highlighting irregularities in the awarding of the Sekunjalo Marine Services Consortium tender. The same day, the newspaper's editor, Alide Dasnois, was dismissed from her post by Iqbal Survé, executive chairman of Sekunjalo Investments.[19][20]

Sekunjalo Investments threatened to sue the paper, Dasnois, and journalist Melanie Gosling over the tender story, but Survé has denied that Dasnois' removal was connected to the article. He instead pointed to the title's declining circulation figures as his primary motivation.[21] Compounded loss of sales, between 2008 and 2012, amounted to 28%, he said.

In response to a perceived attack on press freedom, several organizations have issued statements of support for Dasnois and of concern over editorial independence at the Cape Times. These include Index on Censorship, the International Federation of Journalists, the SA Centre for PEN International, the SA National Editors Forum, the Freedom of Expression Institute, and the Right2Know campaign.[22][23][24][25][26]

In September 2014 Dasnois filed papers in the South African Labour Court for unfair dismissal and for breech of contract.[27]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Historic new appointments at Independent Media". IOL. Retrieved 12 May 2020.
  2. ^ "Average issue readership of newspapers and magazines" (PDF). All Media Products Survey. South African Advertising Research Foundation. Retrieved 26 December 2012.
  3. ^ Moodie, Gill (21 November 2012). "ABC Q3 figures forecast tough times". BizCommunity. Retrieved 26 December 2012.
  4. ^ a b "Which papers rose (not many) & which fell [ABC circulation Q4 2014]". 19 February 2015. Archived from the original on 20 February 2015. Retrieved 25 February 2015.
  5. ^ "Data" (PDF).
  6. ^ Shaw, Gerald (1975). Some Beginnings: The Cape Times 1876-1910. London: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0195700716. p.xiii.
  7. ^ Shaw, Gerald (1999). The Cape Times: An Informal History, Cape Town: David Philip.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h "Cape Times Website". Retrieved 13 June 2013.
  9. ^ "The Press Ombudsman".
  10. ^ "Cape Times Violated The Press Code, Press Council Panel Rules".
  11. ^ "Cape Times Violation of Press Council Ruling Must Be Urgently Rectified".
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 23 October 2017. Retrieved 28 February 2018.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ "Cape Times Website". Retrieved 18 March 2013.
  14. ^ "ABC - Audit Bureau of Circulations of South Africa".
  15. ^ a b "ABC Q4 Presentation". Audit Bureau of Circulations. Retrieved 29 March 2016.
  16. ^ a b "ABC Analysis Q1 2015: The biggest-circulating newspapers in South Africa".
  17. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 February 2013. Retrieved 10 September 2018.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  18. ^ "SAARF".
  19. ^ "Cape Times editor fired after Joemat-Pettersson report". Mail and Guardian. 8 December 2013. Retrieved 19 December 2013.
  20. ^ Vecchiatto, Paul (9 December 2013). "Firing of Cape Times' editor raises eyebrows". Business Day. Retrieved 19 December 2013.
  21. ^ Surve, Iqbal (9 December 2013). "Statement by executive Director Dr Iqbal Surve". Independent Media SA. Archived from the original on 13 December 2013. Retrieved 19 December 2013.
  22. ^ van der Westhuizen, Christi (13 December 2013). "South Africa: Cape Times in crisis as editor fired after corruption story". Index on Censorship. Retrieved 19 December 2013.
  23. ^ "Demonstration in South Africa calls for reinstatement of Cape Times editor". ifex. 17 December 2013. Retrieved 19 December 2013.
  24. ^ "SA Pen concerned by Cape Times editor's dismissal". The Sowetan. 17 December 2013. Archived from the original on 19 December 2013. Retrieved 19 December 2013.
  25. ^ Adriaan Basson; et al. (9 December 2013). "SANEF shocked and concerned at axing of Alide Dasnois". South African National Editors Forum. Retrieved 19 December 2013.
  26. ^ "FXI is deeply concerned about suggestions of inappropriate managerial interference in the editorial independence of the Cape Time". 10 December 2013. Archived from the original on 14 December 2013. Retrieved 19 December 2013.
  27. ^ SAPA (27 September 2014). "Ex-Cape Times editor files papers in court". News24. Retrieved 21 January 2015.

External links[edit]