Paper accused of conspiring against ANC


The African National Congress (ANC) has accused the Daily Dispatch of abusing its power as a media entity following the leak of document in which the paper reportedly indicated that it was set to publish “damming” articles about Eastern Cape Premier, Phumulo Masualle.

Speaking in a statement, the party’s National Spokesperson Zizi Kodwa, said that extracts form the document leaked to the party, showed that the paper had been planning to spy on Masualle, while a heading titled “Opposition” had the words “Is there something that they are coming up with? Can we work with them?” written underneath, suggesting a link-up with opposition parties to discredit the ANC.

“The contents of the document in our possession should be condemned fearlessly as they do not represent the South Africa, we sought to build,” Kodwa said.

“This type of journalism is tantamount to witch hunt and a blatant departure from the norms and standards expected of media institutions of the stature of Daily Dispatch”.

Kodwa said that the document again casts doubt over the credibility of the paper’s publisher, Times Media, and that it contravenes journalistic ethics highlighted in the Constitution.

“This type of journalism has no place in our society as it only gives the respected profession a bad name. This behaviour further confirms the trend of gutter and unethical journalism long identified by the ANC.

“The ANC has never sought to muzzle the press, will never and does not intend to do so. All that it expects from the media, is factual, accurate and unbiased reporting, which does not border on sensationalism or defamation of character,” Kodwa said, adding that the party will be meeting with the South African National Editors Forum (SANEF) to discuss the accusations.

Dispatch Editor, Bongani Siqoko, has meanwhile alleged that the paper was unaware of what document Kodwa was referring to, and that the party’s failure to confront them directly was “disappointing”.

“No such document exists at the Daily Dispatch. For the past week we have been confronted with false accusations that we are spying on the premier of the province,” Siqoko said in an article on Friday.

“This accusation was formally raised this week when officials from the premier’s office visited our newsroom to discuss our continuing working relationship. Incidentally the meeting was cordial and fruitful”.

He also stated that Kodwa’s allegations had resulted in the ramping-up of security to protect senior staff as the threats are being taken seriously.

“SANEF further notes that the ANC statement indicates that the organisation would be approaching Sanef for a discussion. We await the opportunity to be briefed by the ANC‚” it Executive Director‚ Mathatha Tsedu, told The Sowetan.