IFP: alleges an ANC campaign to reclaim ‘Ilanga’ newspaper

2012-11-08 00:00

THE Inkatha Freedom Party has turned the strike by Ilanga newspaper employees into a political bun fight, accusing the ANC of orchestrating the labour dispute.

Its accusation is based on an entry in the ANC’s KZN 2012 centenary programme which reads “Re-claiming of Ilanga Newspaper”.

The 22 workers downed tools this week after their union representative was fired allegedly for having taken their grievances to management in April. They were all shown the door.

IFP MP Liezl van der Merwe said the strike was purportedly driven by Ilanga journalists, yet the real impetus came from the ANC’s declared agenda of reclaiming the newspaper as indicated in the programme.

“According to the centenary programme, the reclaiming of Ilanga was a year-long project. As the year draws to a close, attempts to fulfil this political agenda are escalating. This is evident from the statement by Arts and Culture Minister Paul Mashatile, when he addressed the public at Inanda during the centenary celebrations. He declared that Ilanga was in the wrong hands,” said Van der Merwe yesterday.

The ANC was at pains to explain the entry in its centenary celebration programme.

KZN ANC secretary Sihle Zikalala said: “The intention was to engage Ilanga management to ensure that it serves the intentions and objectives which Dr John Dube had when he established the publication. Some of those objectives were to educate the communities without being biased toward anybody.”

Van der Merwe said the ANC should admit the facts of history and accept that Dube sold the paper to white owners in 1930.

She urged Ilanga journalists to stop allowing themselves to be used for political purposes, and challenged the ANC to admit the facts of history.

“Dr John Langalibalele Dube, the founder of the newspaper, sold it to a white-owned company in 1930. More than 40 years later, it took the IFP to reclaim Ilanga and restore it to where it had originally belonged — in black people’s hands,” Van der Merwe said.

Willem Phungula, the shop steward who was fired last week, said:“We are not used, but we are exploited. We haven’t heard from the IFP since the strike, yet they claim to own the newspaper.”

Arthur Konigkramer, the managing director of Mandla-Matla Publishing, owners of Ilanga, yesterday said the employees responsible for deleting a completed edition of Ilanga Langesonto on Saturday had been identified and would be sued.

Mashatile was not available for comment.

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