PO­LIT­I­CAL PER­SPEC­TIVE: Farm­ers should em­u­late the me­dia and unify

Farmer's Weekly (South Africa) - - Contents -

EFF leader Julius Malema re­cently crit­i­cised mem­bers of the me­dia for form­ing part of what he called the “Ramaphosa De­fence Force”, while ad­dress­ing a crowd of sup­port­ers out­side the venue where the Ju­di­cial Com­mis­sion of In­quiry into Al­le­ga­tions of State Cap­ture was con­duct­ing hear­ings.

Dur­ing his ad­dress, Malema de­nounced mem­bers of the me­dia for spread­ing false in­for­ma­tion or “fake news” on be­half of Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa, Min­ster Pravin Gord­han and “White Mo­nop­oly Cap­i­tal”. He said that the EFF needed to “deal with them de­ci­sively”.

JOUR­NAL­ISTS UN­DER AT­TACK

In a fur­ther devel­op­ment, Malema hit out at in­ves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ist Pauli van Wyk in an an­gry tweet af­ter she shared an ed­i­to­rial from the Mail & Guardian on so­cial me­dia that was crit­i­cal of him. The ar­ti­cle stated that Malema “has to take re­spon­si­bil­ity for vi­o­lence meted out to jour­nal­ists. He is stok­ing the flames of a cam­paign against jour­nal­ists whose work he dis­putes … and ul­ti­mately en­dan­gers the lives of jour­nal­ists”.

Many Twit­ter fol­low­ers were ap­palled by the in­for­ma­tion pre­sented in

Van Wyk’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion, pub­lished on the Daily Mav­er­ick web­site, of how at least R1,8 mil­lion in funds from the now liq­ui­dated VBS Mu­tual Bank al­legedly made its way to Malema, his deputy Floyd Shivambu and the EFF.

It also seems that Malema, who pro­fesses to be a fighter for the rights of the poor, some­times lives in a house in a high­se­cu­rity Hyde Park es­tate, rented from the in­fa­mous ci­garette “man­u­fac­turer” Adri­ano Maz­zotti. The lat­ter is a self­con­fessed ci­garette smug­gler, who has also been ac­cused of tax eva­sion. In 2013, Maz­zotti re­port­edly do­nated R200 000 to the EFF, while fel­low Carnil­inx di­rec­tor, Kyle Phillips, al­legedly lent Malema R1 mil­lion to help him set­tle his tax af­fairs.

VBS BANK SCAN­DAL

With re­gard to the VBS scan­dal, a com­mon ev­ery­day bank where rich and poor in­vested and where loans were se­cured, it has been al­leged that R1,8 bil­lion dis­ap­peared into the hands of a few peo­ple. It has fur­ther been al­leged that the EFF re­ceived R1,3 mil­lion, and that Floyd Shivambu and his brother Brian also ben­e­fit­ted.

This is why there was, and still is, such a bat­tle for the con­trol of the South African Rev­enue Ser­vice and the Re­serve Bank, as these en­ti­ties tend to be­come aware of such trans­gres­sions.

Since all this be­came pub­lic, the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the EFF and the me­dia has be­come some­what strained. What does this have to do with agri­cul­ture? First of all, I ad­mire jour­nal­ists who take a stance. How­ever, when con­fronted with an­i­mos­ity and vi­o­lence, they can put up a united front and take a united po­si­tion to pro­tect them­selves and their point of view.

This is some­thing farm­ers can try to em­u­late. In the case of agri­cul­ture, we can­not even agree on the num­ber of farm mur­ders or at­tacks! There is not a sin­gle or­gan­i­sa­tion in the farm­ing en­vi­ron­ment that gen­uinely speaks for every­one.

IN AGRI­CUL­TURE WE CAN­NOT EVEN AGREE ON THE NUM­BER OF FARM MUR­DERS

PO­LIT­I­CAL PER­SPEC­TIVE BY DR JAN VENTERDr Jan Venter is a po­lit­i­cal an­a­lyst at Aginfo. Email him at [email protected]

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