Cape Town media protest heats up

2013-12-17 16:35
(Nielen de Klerk, News24)

(Nielen de Klerk, News24)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cape Town - A protest against the alleged removal of Alide Dasnois as Cape Times editor was hijacked on Tuesday by groups calling for media transformation.

The Right2Know campaign had formally applied to protest in front of Newspaper House in Cape Town at lunchtime, about a perceived threat to editorial independence.

About 50 media professionals, members of the political party Agang SA, and members of the public, including children, stood quietly in front of the building holding posters declaring "This is not Gov Times - reinstate Alide now", and "Surve - hands off the Cape Times".

Independent News and Media SA (INMSA) chair Iqbal Surve denied in a statement earlier this month that Dasnois had been fired, but had been offered alternative positions in the company.

"Ms Dasnois was not fired," Surve said in a statement.

Danois, however, has said she was "unfairly dismissed".

Surve said in a press release that the move formed part of a strategy aimed at arresting poor sales figures.

In a letter to staff three days later, he said the Cape Times's compounded loss of sales, between 2008 and 2012, amounted to 28%.

News coverage

In this letter, Surve also said Dasnois was reprimanded for not leading with the news of former president Nelson Mandela in its Friday edition. His death was covered in a wraparound editorial supplement.

Instead, the front page carried a public protector finding that the awarding of a fisheries tender by the agriculture, forestry, and fisheries department to Sekunjalo Marine Services Consortium was improper.

The consortium is a subsidiary of Sekunjalo Holdings which acquired a controlling share in INMSA earlier this year. Surve also chairs Sekunjalo.

The Sunday Times also ran with the story.

Sekunjalo subsequently laid criminal charges against a Sunday Times editor and a reporter, accusing the Times Media Group of a "dirty tricks" campaign.

It has since decided to drop the charges and lay a complaint with the Press Ombudsman regarding the Sunday Times and Cape Times's coverage, as well as a broader complaint regarding an attack on its integrity in various newspapers in the past two years.

Surve categorically denied that Dasnois's replacement was due to the fisheries tender story.


About 10 minutes into the protest on Tuesday, a group calling itself the Movement for Transformation of Media in SA (MTMSA) arrived in front of the building.

They carried posters stating "Fire racist reporters" and "Fire Tony Weaver", who defended Dasnois in his recent "Man Friday" column in the Cape Times.

Some wore ANC and SA National Civic Organisation shirts.

Tension ran high as both sides mingled and shouted their slogans.

Protesters defending Dasnois and media freedom shouted "the ANC is corrupt" and "Zuma is corrupt" while the media transformation group shouted "fire racist reporters" and "transformation now".

At one point, a man with a R2K T-shirt attempted to divide the two sides to calm the situation.

MTMSA leader Wesley Douglas said they were protesting on the same permit as the R2K organisers.

"We are saying in every democracy around the world you can have a demonstration where you can have the pros and the cons in the same space at the same time. Why can we not have that in South Africa?"

He said they supported the removal of Dasnois but their protest was about more than one individual. It was about the entire media needing to be transformed.

"Why is it that white media houses are attacking black media owners?" he asked.

Read more on:    independent news and media  |  cape times  |  alide dasnois  |  iqbal surve  |  cape town  |  media  |  protest

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.