Press Ombudsman Finds Daily Dispatch Story On R631m Tender Baseless And Malicious: ANC

APRIL 28, 2015

The African National Congress over the weekend said it welcomes the ruling of the Press Ombudsman in the matter ANC vs Daily Dispatch in relation to the stories 'ANC family links to R631m EC deal' and 'ANC faces behind toilet tender scandal' with appeared in the print and online version of the paper on the 28 February 2015 respectively...

"In the story the Daily Dispatch used these misleading and malicious stories to create the impression that ANC leaders, Comrades Jacob Zuma, Gwede Mantashe and Lindiwe Zulu, had influenced the awarding of the said tender to their family members," ANC National Spokesperson, Zizi Kodwa, said.

"The Press Ombudsman has found that the Daily Dispatch failed to verify this so-called link between the awarding of the tender and the influence of the ANC leaders mentioned.

"Further, that the reportage creating an impression of impropriety, undue influence or pressure, fraudulent or corrupt relationship was fundamentally unfair as there was no basis or reasonable proof to form grounds for making such links or justification for such allegations of impropriety."

Kodwa said that the Press Ombudsman has directed the Daily Dispatch to apologise to the ANC for failing to verify the suggested links and for the harm that this has caused to the dignity and reputation of the ANC leaders concerned.

"The behaviour of the newspaper was not only a breach of the Press Code which enjoins members of the press to report news truthfully, accurately and fairly but we believe a deliberate attack on the integrity and reputation of not only the leaders mentioned in the story but the African National Congress itself," he noted.

"It is designed to feed in into a narrative that is carefully constructed to depict the ANC and its leadership as corrupt and that Black and African entrepreneurs are only successful because of their 'links' to the 'right' people. The ANC remains committed to the fight against corruption wherever it raises its head and regardless of whomever is involved.

"Such commitment on our part does not however translate to a licence on the part of the media to fabricate imaginary stories our leadership or make baseless accusations against any individual. Such behaviour can only lead us to conclude that these members of the media are acting as proxies for other agendas and make a mockery of the vision of an objective and independent press."