The Sunday Times’attempt to smear businessmen Kenny Kunene and Gayton McKenzie has failed, writes
IN recent times, the Sunday Times has run two stories in successive weeks on the persons of Kenny Kunene and Gayton McKenzie, in which it is at pains to reduce them to what they have termed the new Guptas.
I am not sure how much traditional and responsible journalism is accorded to realise research before the Sunday Times, which increasingly confirms a tabloid status, runs these soap opera headlines.
The Sunday Times, owned by Tiso Blackstar, formerly the Times Media Group, is clearly Guptaobsessed and has chosen to cry wolf on this name every time. I guess the Gupta name sells.
Let us therefore attempt to understand a few things in asking who Kunene and McKenzie are, why do the Sunday Times do this, and why the “new Gupta” claim?
Who are Kenny Kunene and Gayton McKenzie?
This question for some can be answered in many ways because of their confessed and known history, which really makes up a short period of their lives.
For some, Kunene and McKenzie are “current criminals”. They are not former convicted criminals, who served their time and became fully rehabilitated and contribute towards our society in meaningful ways.
They are mere criminals. They are not family men who daily ply their confirmed legitimate trades, who do well as fellow SA citizens.
Kunene and McKenzie are private individuals, like all of us.
They are South African citizens active in their own right, yet their social standing in society affords them the status of “celebrities” to varying degrees.
The latter, however, does not deny them a right to living private lives as the recent claim advanced of the Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, also a wealthy businessman, socialite, senior politician and, for some, also a celebrity.
The Sunday Times clearly sees Kunene and McKenzie through this snapshot poor and convenient lens of being only criminals, because if they must ever admit to who Kunene and McKenzie really are in their formidable sense of business ownership, undeniable creation of jobs, and meaningful roles as business people, it would have no story to run.
The Sunday Times will never tell you these men have never bid or won any tender of the R500 billion the state expands on an annual basis on undeniable essentially white interest.
It is the most difficult thing for the Sunday Times and its owners to admit that Kunene and McKenzie are wealthy business people in their own right.
They are always tagged with their past criminal status when the Sunday Times cannot tag Alan Knott-Craig for his lies about inventing a please-call platform.
The Sunday Times never tells us how Johann Rupert made his money in an unholy crossbreed of schemes and deals that would raise the hairs on anyone’s neck.
It would not remotely lay bare the apartheid theft that made billionaires of those today worshipped as business moguls and the barometer of ethical business management and ownership.
So for those who still do not know: Kunene and McKenzie are vested in legal business in diverse sectors spanning mining, media, commodities and services industries.
The Sunday Times runs a story on McKenzie being trained by Russia to be a spy. We are not afforded the corroborating evidence in due research to prove these dastardly claims. We are sold these fictitious and scurrilous rumourmongering because Kunene and McKenzie as individuals, and a collective of brotherhood, have defied the normal of what black people are assigned, by a corrupt and depraved racist mind. The Sunday Times this week runs another story of how Kunene and McKenzie are apparently body hugging buddies with the president and have in this season come to direct the president in choices.
They extend this to salacious claims of “Zuma’s new pals in R5bn gas deal”. It takes comfort in claims of knowing where the pair recently travelled in pursuit of a gas business deal in Russia. It is really frivolous to tell us Kunene and McKenzie flew first class, and stayed at the Ritz Carlton.
Is it unusual for business people who are wealthy to travel first class if they’re not using their own chartered planes? Why is it important where they stayed? Does the Sunday Times report on where Johann Rupert, Christo Wiese, Stephen Koseff, or Brian Joffe recently flew, on what deal, if they chartered a plane and where they stayed and who they met?
This obsession to force-feed us a diet of makeshift details confirms the shallowness of Sunday Times journalism on the one hand but, on the other, the conviction that black people cannot and should not travel first class, stay in the Ritz Carlton or cut a R5bn deal regardless of the commodity.
To crown it off, they have black journalists’ names attached to the story, as if that will hide the real issue of white interest.
I guess Kunene and McKenzie are being spied on and followed by unseen forces. Are these also intelligence forces at work, as Ramaphosa claimed for his personal indiscretions?
Can the Sunday Times tell us when their favourite business people had meetings with presidents, cabinet ministers, or people of political power? Last time I checked, in a democracy it is not against the law to meet or engage any political figure if you a businessperson or a member of society.
If it’s not a crime nor genetically corrupt to have meetings with politicians, why is it assumed that some can only have a corrupt interactions and others can only have pure interactions that is good for the greater good?
Why do the Sunday Times do this?
It becomes important to ask: what extends the Sunday Times such a right to cast Kunene and McKenzie as controlling of apparently the Minister of State Security David Mahlobo as having run around to cut deals for them? There is a fundamental mistrust of an ANCled government in which it is uncritically accepted that all ANC leaders and ministers are corrupt. This, combined with the chosen history of Kunene and McKenzie, who never denied their past. This combination, regardless of its flawed state, fuels the rhetoric of these wild claims.
These claims, besides being baseless, are essentially racist in its ontological footprint, inebriated in its praxis and poor in its truth. In answering the question as to why the Sunday Times, a white-owned media house, essentially existing in service of white interest and hegemony may arrogate such latitude, is to understand the fundamental aspect of a racist media outlet.
It will only trust those blacks who dance to its tune, and are good for serving its interest. It is the death defying power of racism that continues to exist in South Africa, not in statutory definition of institutional racism, but in presence of structural racism nevertheless.
Why the New Gupta Claim?
The Sunday Times then resorts to renaming Kunene and McKenzie of being the new Guptas.
This is again not innocent or necessarily in defence of South Africa, but stands in the same ilk of how people like the SAA chairperson Dudu Myeni was given a double-barrelled last name.
It stands in the tradition of insulting people by associating them in orchestrated craftiness of an identity the Sunday Times has rubbished and stripped of any human agency.
The Sunday Times has long ago made itself the face of the dehumanising the Gupta Family. For the record, the Gupta family is a naturalised black family who lives in SA and has benefited and contributed to the economic landscape of the country.
In the classically conditioned social conscience of South Africa, the Guptas evoke the worst of criminals, the thieves who belong to SA, the crooks who invented state capture.
Despite the validity of these claims not having been tested, the mileage of this orchestrated campaign has found resonance and the Sunday Times knows exactly how much is vested in crafting that narrative.
Its much-made of Guptaleaks, known from the start as not legally admissible in a democratic environment of justice, but peddled for weeks snippets of newsadvantage tit-bits defaming people it could never charge in a court of law.
We know the campaign fell flat when the eighth motion of no confidence also failed.
To therefore frame Kunene and McKenzie as a “new Gupta” horror of scarecrow, is the Sunday Times’ failed attempt to smear them. It is their version of dirty tricks. It is not only to smear them but also to continue the long night of blistering unfounded attacks on the person of President Zuma, and some in his cabinet like Mahlobo.
The association with the Guptas is the poison that is paraded as who all black business aspires to be.
The toxic nature of this claim attests a hidden, but glaringly visible for the observing eye, claim that black business people exist to control black politicians in corrupt practice and in defiance of any semblance of regard for the law.
This Gupta label, invoked, has as a fundamental aim, to blanket every black businessman as fundamentally corrupt, innately depraved, and intoxicated not to conduct him/her with respect for the due laws.
Thus the “Gupta label” is an indictment. Iit has as its rudimentary aim the denial of future business opportunities for Kunene and McKenzie to further grow and expand their business interests – because the audacity of Kunene and McKenzie to have remained loyal one-to-the-other in brotherhood, anchored in a fundamental pursuit of helping other blacks who detest the black diamond status as an unacceptable thorn in the side of the Sunday Times and its owners.
Kunene and McKenzie must be stopped, and the only way to do so is to declare them economic and political vermin, meaning they must be annihilated and not afforded to live, and whoever can do this will be celebrated.
For some of us, Kunene and McKenzie are responsible business people who have worked hard for what they own today, they epitomise the indefatigable spirit of the African who refuses to let colonialism of special kind define them in eternity.
They evidence a hope that some teenager has in a Heidedal, Koffiefontein, Kanyamazane or Lenyenye.
Neither of them are perfect, but they are heroes to the youth, and their audacity must be celebrated. For those black journalists, Mzilikazi Wa Afrika and Thanduxolo Jika, we don’t blame you – we understand you have been conditioned not to trust a black man who has a plan and has made some money and lives good, this right is only for whites, whom you don’t question.
Their presence simply don’t trouble you because it’s natural for whites to have attained their wealthy by honourable means and they should not be questioned – but that black, don’t trust him, he made his money by corrupt means.
We hold the hope that you too will one day awake from your wilful slumber and realise you must create your own Indaba newspaper as Tiyo Soga did in the 19th century.
Please afford Kunene and McKenzie to follow the likes of Tiyo Soga, to defy the identity that colonialism shackled him with and left a legacy we still