Newspaper owner Dr Iqbal Survé stormed out of a glitzy media event on Friday night after seeing a former editor of the Cape Times being honoured.
“It’s racist! It’s bulls**t!” exclaimed Survé, chairperson of the Sekunjalo group and the majority shareholder of Independent News & Media SA, which is the owner of the Cape Times.
He was enraged that Alide Dasnois had received the Nat Nakasa prize for courage and integrity.
Survé removed Dasnois as Cape Times editor a day after the death of Nelson Mandela. He first said it was part of a restructuring process and later said this had been expedited because the newspaper had not carried news of Mandela’s death on its front page.
Drum editor Khosi Zwane-Siguqa, who was at the event, said: “Alide received the award on Friday night and gave a short speech. The whole audience gave her a standing ovation.”
The prize is awarded annually by the SA National Editors’ Forum (Sanef), Print and Digital Media SA and the Nieman Foundation. The judges were Dr Simphiwe Sesanti, a journalism lecturer at Stellenbosch University, Joe Thloloe, a director in the Press Council and journalist Peter Sullivan.
Said Zwane-Siguqa: “After that, Iqbal took a big sip of water from the glass in front of him, stood up and said: ‘I can’t believe it. It’s bulls**t!’
“He walked to Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and whispered something in his ear, before storming out.”
Mathatha Tsedu, the executive director of Sanef, said yesterday: “It’s a pity that Dr Survé felt he needed to leave the event in such a manner. But it’s a free country and no one can force you to stay somewhere you don’t want to be.”
Despite several attempts to contact Survé, he had made no comment at the time of going to press.