Du Preez's piece racist - presidency

2014-12-30 22:26
(File: Conrad Bornman)

(File: Conrad Bornman)

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Johannesburg - The presidency on Tuesday called an opinion piece by columnist Max du Preez about President Jacob Zuma racist and mind-boggling.

"The piece smacks of prejudice and racism given the manner in which Mr du Preez describes the president," the presidency said in a statement.

"The presidency is alarmed by the personal attack on President Jacob Zuma."

In an article published by Independent Newspapers, titled "Zuma - SA's one-man wrecking ball", Du Preez says the SA Revenue Service (Sars) and the Hawks were the "latest victims" of Zuma's "demolition of democracy".

"The devastation caused by... Zuma will take years to rebuild, even if he were to leave office tomorrow."

Du Preez offers his analysis of the political machinations he believes are behind the appointment of Tom Moyane as Sars commissioner in September, and the suspension earlier this month of Hawks head Anwa Dramat.

In its statement, the presidency called the article a "mind-boggling opinion piece" and said it had not been given an opportunity to respond to the "serious allegations".

It said when processes such as taking disciplinary action against public servants took place, these would have nothing to do with Zuma.

"The knee jerk reaction of blaming the president for everything that happens in institutions without any attempt to verify the information indicates lazy and mischievous journalism," it said.

The presidency took exception to a reference Du Preez makes to Zuma's "corrupt relationship [in the words of a judge] with his financial adviser".

The presidency said the remark in question - when Judge Hilary Squires was reported by the media to have said Zuma had a "generally corrupt relationship" with fraud-convicted Schabir Shaik - had already been refuted.

In November 2006, Squires wrote to Business Day indicating he never uttered those words.

Responding to the presidency's statement on his writing, Du Preez told Sapa: "My only comment is that my column was an opinion piece, not reportage."

In a tweet he said: "I'm a liar and a racist. Shame on me", along with a link to the presidency's statement online.

Read more on:    independent newspapers  |  jacob zuma  |  max du preez  |  anwa dramat  |  pretoria  |  politics  |  racism  |  media

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