Stop the distortions, City Press
Zizi Kodwa ANC national spokesperson Reading your newspaper’s ill-informed diatribe (“ANC marches on itself”, City Press, February 21 2016), one would almost be forgiven for thinking the newspaper is lecturing the ANC and its supporters on civil activism.
After all, why take to the streets when all you need is “a quick walk up the stairs at Luthuli House”? This commentary masquerading as news is premised on the similarly ill-informed logic that, as a political and governing party, we cannot take our issues and concerns to the seat of government because that is tantamount to “marching on ourselves”.
This is a gross insult to the thousands of ANC supporters who filled the lawns of the Union Buildings last week to raise awareness about one of the greatest challenges facing South Africa. That there is a difference between an event to raise awareness and a protest march is Political Science 101 – a distinction that appears to have eluded your correspondent.
If he were listening, he would have heard the ANC’s secretary-general make it clear to those gathered that the ANC and its supporters were there to mobilise our supporters and society at large against racism, and to facilitate dialogue among South Africans on this scourge.
It is telling that your correspondent didn’t interview a single marcher, choosing instead to quote liberally from the memorandum handed over at the end of the march. This is surprising, considering how many “colourful snippets” were solicited from participants of the ill-fated #ZumaMustFall marches last year.
Contrary to it being an indication that we are “marching on ourselves”, last week’s march is a vindication of the strong influence the ANC and all it stands for continue to have in public life.
The creeping tendency for media houses to dress up opinion as news – the former is a free-for-all and the latter is meant to be factual and unbiased – is worrying. So is the ahistorical approach to current events that has found its way into the news pages. What else could explain City Press’ problematic Page 2 snippet (February 14 2016) after the state of the nation address?
A headline, “Police State”, was accompanied by an evocative image of someone dressed in EFF regalia seemingly “squaring off” against an advancing column of police in riot gear. According to City Press, the clashes outside Parliament “reinforced the notion that we have descended into a police state, ruled by an iron fist and a zero-tolerance policy towards civil disobedience”.
It is unclear whether City Press’ editors live in the same country as the rest of us. Or if your correspondent actually looked up the definition of a police state.
If they had, they would know that comparing ANC-run South Africa in 2016 to Stasi-run East Germany is a bit of a stretch at best, and blatant, unethical editorialising at worst – in complete violation of the press code.
Luckily, the onward march towards a nonracist, nonsexist, inclusive South Africa continues apace.