Tutu condemns attack on City Press editor

2011-08-06 16:21

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu yesterday had only harsh words for ex-Sowetan columnist Eric Miyeni and the injustice his last column invoked.

“Mr Eric Miyeni took the editor of City Press, Ms Ferial Haffajee, to task for her cheek in wanting to know how someone on a small salary lives like a millionaire.

“Mr Miyeni has a constitutional right to object, but not at the expense of her own constitutional rights.

“Mr Miyeni lashed out at a women in quite colourful language. For most of us she seemed a normal human being; for him she’s a black snake in the grass, kow-towing to her white masters.

“He then invoked the gruesome instrument of a horrible death – the necklace. The necklace again used today against so-called witches, women. He gave legitimacy to one of the most foul ways to execute someone.

“I have deviated from my prepared speech to say that I condemn, unequivocally, what Mr Miyeni has done. Has he forgotten what happened in Rwanda? This is gutter journalism of the worst kind,” a clearly angry Tutu said in Cape Town while addressing a women’s conference on women and justice.

Miyeni has been sacked for his offensive column last Monday in which he ­attacked Haffajee and the investigative articles in City Press on Julius Malema, president of the ANC youth league, his lavish lifestyle and the Ratanang trust.

Tutu told a few jokes before he revealed his anger and dismay. He was paying tribute to women, telling the audience that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission taught him that South Africa would not have known freedom had it not been for the role of women.

But he then expressed his fear that this freedom was in jeopardy owing to the shenanigans of those who “claim to be youth leaders”, those such as Malema.

“I am upset. They – those whippersnappers – are insulting those who sacrificed so much. Where were they in the 1960s when the youth were mowed down in Sharpeville? In 1976 when the Hector Pieterson’s were whipped, teargassed, detained without trial, died mysteriously in detention, were forced into exile?

He continued: “Where the heck were they in the 1980s? They are spitting in the faces of those who sacrificed.

“What are they doing to our land? Do we need a new struggle for those hellbent on destroying our land?

“Some enrich themselves through corruption. For goodness’ sake, don’t mess up our beautiful land, we are a wounded people.”

»See Voices for The Black Snake Debate

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