ANCYL slams City Press over Malema story

2011-07-27 14:34
Johannesburg - The ANC Youth League criticised City Press newspaper on Wednesday, calling its journalists and editor "puppets" of "masters" bent on protecting ill-gotten wealth.

League spokesperson Floyd Shivambu said although the ANCYL had responded to the paper's report about its president Julius Malema's trust fund, there were "fundamental questions" it wanted answers to.

"We are asking these questions to educate and walk with members of the public about the ulterior motive of the capitalist, imperialists and their representative in the form of the Rupert family which will do everything in their power to maintain the status quo of massive racialised wealth inequalities in South Africa," Shivambu said.

City Press editor Ferial Haffajee said the ANCYL was trying to deflect attention from the real questions raised in the report.

"He is attempting to cover it up with bombast and rhetoric and absolute falsehood."

Editorial independence

It was insulting for Shivambu to accuse the paper's editorial team of being "puppets".

"I am not a political player, I have no political motive, I am simply a journalist and an editor of an investigative newspaper," she said.

Haffajee said her editorial independence was never interfered with.

She had also not heard from Malema or his attorneys on whether he would sue the paper over the story.

The Rupert family, which Shivambu said funded the apartheid government since the 1940s, was the major shareholder of the "Afrikaner dominated and controlled Naspers group".

"... all these publications replicate the apartheid ideology of white supremacy and portray black people as corrupt or superstitious human beings with no potential to develop and engage in conscious social, political and economic issues confronting South Africa," Shivambu said.

Naspers, a multi-national media group, owns Media24, with Rapport, Die Beeld, City Press and Daily Sun under its umbrella.

The Hawks on Tuesday confirmed receiving a docket on Malema after civil rights group AfriForum laid a complaint against him in terms of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act of 2004. The docket was handed to its commercial crimes unit head, who would determine whether to investigate the matter.

'Fight political battles'

The questions the league wanted answered included whether the Rupert family and Naspers shareholders approved of the way its paper was used to "fight political battles". It also wanted to know whether they approved of the phone hacking employed by British tabloid News of the World.

City Press reported that Malema was allegedly using the Ratanang Family Trust to bankroll his lavish lifestyle. The trust, named after his son, was registered at the Office of the Master of the High Court in Pretoria in 2008, weeks after Malema was first elected youth league president.

Citing two "independent, well-placed sources with knowledge of Malema's financial dealings", City Press reported the trust was being used by Malema and "his benefactors" to fund his lifestyle.

"Thousands of rands" were deposited into the account regularly, according to unnamed sources. "Frequent deposits are being made from different banks, especially in Limpopo."

One source told the paper he had deposited R200 000 into the trust's bank account after Malema facilitated a government tender for his benefit.

On Monday the league said Malema was prepared to be investigated by the SA Revenue Service and law enforcement agencies. It said the trust was used for charitable purposes and was "tax compliant".

The ANCYL believed Malema was under attack because of his push for the nationalisation of mines and land expropriation without compensation.

Shivambu also wanted to know why DA federal chairperson Wilmot James was a director of Media24, the owner of City Press.

"None of the News24 [sic] publications has ever reported anything negative about the DA, but always jumps into an opportunity to rubbish through lies, the leadership of the ANC."

- News24 is a part of Media24.
- SAPA
Read more on:    city press  |  ancyl  |  media24  |  floyd shivambu  |  julius malema  |  ferial haffajee  |  politics  |  corruption  |  media
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