Press Club not neutral ground - ANC

2012-05-07 22:33

Johannesburg - The Cape Town Press Club cannot be regarded as a neutral ground for parties that have no presence in the club, the ANC said on Monday.

"This has been vindicated by the partisan attitude demonstrated by chairperson of the National Press Club Mr Yusuf Abramjee and the chairperson of the Cape Town Press Club Mr Donwald Pressley towards Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson's protestation against this anomaly," spokesperson Jackson Mthembu said in a statement.

"If these bodies continue to operate in this manner they run the risk of alienating themselves."

This followed comments after Agriculture, Fisheries, and Forestry Minister Joemat-Pettersson protested about speaking at a press club breakfast briefing on Friday because of the presence of Democratic Alliance MP Pieter van Dalen.

It was apparently her belief that he wanted to use the opportunity to continue a disagreement they had during her budget vote speech on Thursday.

According to her adviser Rams Mabote, the minister had been under the impression she was addressing members of the media and not politicians.

She told the press club that if one political party was there, other parties should also have been present.

Van Dalen agreed to leave so others would not be denied the opportunity of hearing her speak. Van Dalen is a fully paid up member of the Cape Town Press Club.

Mthembu said the ANC was disturbed that a public representative for a political party was a member of the club.

"This anomaly is symptomatic of an institution that is founded on questionable grounds given the fact that generally the membership of a press club is a preserve of professionals in the media space who are expected to be objective and non-partisan when it comes to party politics."

Earlier, the Cape Town Press Club said it would review its membership policy at an annual general meeting.

"We'll put it up for discussion by our members at the AGM, which is either this month or next month, depending on [chairman] Donwald Pressly's travel schedule," vice-chairman Brent Meersman said.

He said the nature of the club, since its inception in 1976, was to consider all types of people involved in the news-making process and not only journalists.

The club extended membership to those in industries associated with the media, for example politicians, academics, and legal, business, and foreign government representatives.

Meersman said politicians sometimes joined the club because it was important for them to connect with journalists.

He said past members included African National Congress politicians.

"There is no partisanship in the club. The chairman will control the meeting. If he feels that someone is trying to make a political statement instead of asking a question, he can stop that."

On Sunday, ANC Chief Whip Mathole Motsheka said that press clubs should revisit their membership criteria and look at the role members played.

He said they should also "conduct a frank discussion on the desirability of having politicians as members".

Business Day editor Peter Bruce wrote in a column on Monday that the minister had been "quite right" in refusing to address the club while her DA opposition spokesman was present.

"As the debate on these pages concerning the so-called 'National' Press Club in Pretoria has shown, membership of what should constitute a press club is a moveable and usually self-serving feast," he said.

"Press clubs should be for journalists and should be run by them. Money is a problem, but that isn’t ever best overcome by easing up on the core principle."

The Cape Town Press Club has more than 500 members, of which 133 are business people and 125 journalists.

Club secretary Gloria Barrett said there were 86 members in public relations, 77 uncategorised members, and 52 people who had retired.

A small number of writers were registered. About 18 people were registered as politicians.

Barrett said politics was a broad category and included city managers and political advisers.

  • Andile - 2012-05-07 22:58

    Thank you Editor of Business Day for vindicating me, it is JUST wrong for politicians to be in Press Clubs. We might as well introduce a 'Jury System' for courts, if you have non professionals (Politicians) interfering with Journalists work. Even if you were a Journalist before, once you enter politics just leave journalism until maybe you excuse yourself from politics. Let the playing ground be level, you can not be a Hooker and Referee at the same time. It doesn't work that way

      Dave - 2012-05-07 23:15

      Minister Joemat- Pettersson has a hell of a lot of questions to answer. She took a very, very, easy way out. I could perhaps understand her not responding to a question from a DA MP, but to walk out just because a member of the official opposition was present, raises questions that something is not quite right. LONG LIVE INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM SHOVE THE PROTECTION OF CORRUPT POLITICIANS ACT WHERE THE SUN DON'T SHINE

      Slick - 2012-05-07 23:18

      Really enjoy your quote "Hooker and Referee at the same time".

      Godfrey - 2012-05-07 23:39

      @Andile....if this was an ANC politician, Jackson statement would have read "I can't understand why anyone would object to his presence, as he was there in his capacity as a Press Club member and not as an ANC representative"

      billidp - 2012-05-08 00:09

      What about all the free press the ANC gets from the SABC?

      Press - 2012-05-08 00:34

      "Hooker and referee" - just for clarity - are we speaking of the rugby or political variety ?

      Walter - 2012-05-08 06:42

      I wonder whether she would have said the same thing or reacted in a similar manner had he been a member of the ANC????? I think not!

      Donny Doncaster - 2012-05-08 08:20

      But I guess it's okay to be in politics and business hey Jackson?

  • Slick - 2012-05-07 23:08

    HAHAH!! JACKSON...ALL YOUR BLAH BLAH IS NOT GOING TO CHANGE A THING WHEN IT COMES TO THE DEAR MADAM MINISTER. Take note of ALL MY comments on the link: Which was prior to this further ANC blah blah article! You may condemn and castigate the various Press Clubs as much as you desire. You may try silence the press etc etc, but you will you and your Communist Party Colleague be able to silence ME? The POPULATION WILL KNOW TRUTH ABOUT WHAT THAT HAS AND IS OCCURRING IN CERTAIN ASPECTS OF THE FOOD AND BEVERAGE INDUSTRY IN SOUTH AFRICA, FOR MORE YEARS THAN CAN EVEN BE GUESSED AT AND THEY WILL KNOW IN THE VERY NEAR FUTURE! TRUTH HIDDEN FROM THEM BY THE MADAM MINISTER AND HER HEINOUS,CORRUPT, EVIL ANC GOVERNMENT!

  • Bennie - 2012-05-07 23:10

    zanufication for da Nation !!!

  • Afrikaaner - 2012-05-07 23:24

    So the DA actually runs the media,no wonder we never got good news about our mighty ANC.18 politicians are on the press club and they are all DA,Damn!

      Hadebe - 2012-05-07 23:33

      Shove it bro, u are stale huh!!!

      billidp - 2012-05-08 00:11

      Afrikaaner got troll somehwere else with the other children you are boring and pathetic!

      Lerato - 2012-05-08 05:42

      I agree with Peter Bruce here, this press club is not independent at all

      Peter - 2012-05-08 08:01

      @Afrikaaner, dude stop trolling

      Jacqui - 2012-05-08 11:18

      You are one boring troll.

      Jacqui - 2012-05-08 11:19

      Lerato, ever been to the Press Club. Or is it a case of blowing with the wind like you usually do?.

  • Hadebe - 2012-05-07 23:25

    If these bodies continue operating in this manner they run the risk of alienating themselves...all i can think of at the moment is just mmm!!!

      Slick - 2012-05-07 23:47

      Exactly Hadebe. What is the ANC implying and or confirming...mmmmm!!

      bernpm - 2012-05-07 23:49

      @Hadebe..."all I can think of at the moment is just mmm!!!" .......hope you do not get tired :-)

      Hadebe - 2012-05-08 00:10

      Bernmp, khululeka

      Joe - 2012-05-08 02:38

      Hade, it's not that they are trying to operate in this manner, it's mroe a case that than cannot afford to operate in any other manner. Every someone kicks over a can, we find a new can of worms. Why do you think they want to gag the press?

  • Slick - 2012-05-07 23:45

    The Minister and her Department have also been reported to the Public Protector for possible/ probable investigation and intervention. With the validated evidence at hand, it should be more than probable. This for allowing heinous Non compliant and In Correctly Labeled Food and Beverage products under the Mandate of the Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries. To be advertised, marketed, distributed and sold unsuspecting customers and consumers for more years than can even be guessed at. If this is NOT Premeditated ASTRONOMICAL FRAUD and Horrendous and Dire Health abuses,but not limited to these reasons, afforded unsuspecting customers and consumers to say the least. Then WHAT IS? Responses from the Public Protector are awaited expediently.

  • billidp - 2012-05-08 00:08

    Motsheka the ANC gets enough free press from their lapdog the SABCTV so leave the Press Club alone! How DARE the ANC prescribe to a private club who they may or may not allow to become members?

  • Mark - 2012-05-08 01:52

    Everywhere is a political battleground for the ANC - an organisation of socialist zealots who crave the total domination of all aspects of society. Why are people surprised by their attitude? The ANC will not rest until we are all singing the praises of the leadership and slaving away to fund their opulent lives, far removed from the misery of the everyday citizen, for whom they feel no compassion or responsibility. Sickening.

  • mark.j.porter.5 - 2012-05-08 04:11

    "It was apparently her belief that he wanted to use the opportunity to continue a disagreement" ...I love this line. How would she have known that Van Dalen was actually going to use this as such an opportunity if she hadn't heard him even ask a single question?? Yes, the press club is not a political battle ground which is why chairman Pressley would have stopped any such exchange from happening. The fact that the minister walked away with her tail between her legs makes you wonder. How bad can things be for her to want to avoid the situation as adamantly as demonstrated. Heres a question for you: What are the odds that the press club would be told they should review their membership criteria is it was an ANC member sitting there? "If you cant take the heat, DO A BETTER JOB!"

      tshekiso.saul - 2012-05-08 07:05

      She acted in her capacity and even the DA are opportunists so from the past it has proven so.

  • Ashley Musliah - 2012-05-08 05:35

    She should be relieved of her duties

      Jacqui - 2012-05-08 11:22

      Sure then she can't waste farmers time by speaking about fashion to them. What was it that she said about Ostrich feathers and fashion being her invention?. Silly woman.

  • Lerato - 2012-05-08 05:46

    \Press clubs should be for journalists and should be run by them. Money is a problem, but that isn’t ever best overcome by easing up on the core principle.\ Totally agreed, this is madness how can politicians be part of the club and expect it to be non-partisan! This organisation is biased and not credible at all. DA are using Zanu pf tactics now, how can you be the ref and player as well - choose one

      Lerato - 2012-05-08 09:21

      With intellectual like @Janine as supporters, its easy being a DA politician - I guess you can even watch child porn using council resources and that's no problem because DA people knows how to seperate their personal lives. Your reasoning is doing justice to the DA!

      Lerato - 2012-05-08 10:18

      @Janine so are you suggesting that we should have different rules for DA? Unfortunately the NPC don't think so if I'm stirring s#*$ then am stirring the contents of your head

      Jacqui - 2012-05-08 11:23

      Lerato, why do you feel we are interested in your stupidity".

      Slick - 2012-05-08 12:39

      Lerato is obviously another communist party puppet. Promoting Preety Minister J-P and Gwede Mantashe her Communist Party Puppet Masters. LOL!

  • WhiteNut - 2012-05-08 06:14

    The constitution of the Press Club must make it clear who qualifies to be its member. But honestly why does the press club allow politicians to be its members, out of all ppl?

      goodman.segage - 2012-05-08 07:00

      WhiteNut,that's powerful!

  • andrew.mackie.90 - 2012-05-08 06:23

    Are the ANC and Governmement now prescribing who may join a club? People need to be informed and updated is generally the reason why persons in all walks of life are members of press clubs, breakfast clubs etc.How about the government mouthpiece SABC TV do they have an open membership, where anyone can join? Just because a politician is a member of a press club does not entitle extra benefits.

  • Vince.York - 2012-05-08 06:42

    PARANOIA IN THE EXTREME being exhibited these final days of the zuma ANC desperation? Do the RIGHT THING, after turfing out your very own favorite comrades Mbeki and more recently the fat slightly younger idiot "AND TURF ZUMA OUT AS WELL ABRUPTLY" to prevent dwindling support towards only 35% soon. There are more than enough issues to promulgate an expulsion of the zuma dynasty of outright incompetence, GANGSTERISM, total lack of comprehension of reality and to put a stop to the now freefall theft of public funds.

  • pws69 - 2012-05-08 06:42

    ANC says golf clubs can't be neutral ground if it doesn't have member from all parties ANC says the school cricket team cannot be fairly representative if it has only one child from one particular party ANC says Chess Club cannot be neutral ground if it doesn't have member from all parties ANC says toast masters must be disbanded if it does not have member from all parties. Anyone else see the infantility and stupidity of the ANC's statement, not to mention the cowardice of the corrupt one?

      Lerato - 2012-05-08 06:53

      Duh! Whilst you are busy complaining about the info bill, still got time to justify this biasness! Imagine if people like Gwede are part of this club! It must be free from politicians otherwise its credibility will def be undermined. If he wants debate let him join your debate club or high school toastmasters

      goodman.segage - 2012-05-08 07:07

      Sir/madam this is out of content! You are point out corruption, see now, your policians are using public representatives to push political mandate. I now fully support Inform Bill, all those who oppose it want to hide their corruption in the name of reporting news! Liars.

      Vicker - 2012-05-08 07:59

      @pws69: I dont see a probelm with Chess Clubs, cos all chess boards have an equal number of white and black squares and pieces.

  • goodman.segage - 2012-05-08 06:45

    Press Club, you are pushing your own agendas/interests in the name of news. No wonder all your employees humilate the Govt's efforts by your influence. You can easily detect corruption but you fail to root out your very own. The truth can't be hidden 'politician -cum Press Club member) influence you to discredit every effort by the Govt. I will boycot from buyin your papers. I wanna hear comments, I think they will be shallow

      Gerald - 2012-05-08 07:51

      Hey Badman I got news for you. You have a problem if you are noy going to buy press club papers. Firstly which press club are you talking about,secondly just about every newspaper in S A has a staff member who is a member of a press club. Lastly and most importantly according to you only journalists can be members of a press club so, The ANC is a political party therefore according to your logic only poloticians can be members of the ANC and therefore all ANC members are politicians so what are you doing here in this press forum Out you Bl agent

      WhiteNut - 2012-05-08 17:00

      The issue is that, this is a professional body. Therefore it should be constituted as such. Its like the SA Law Society, its membership is strictly for legal professionals, you can't have doctors joining, and vice versa you can not have lawyers becoming members of SAMA. Career politicians, like the DA MP should not be allowed to be members of press clubs. We are all to certain extent political but not all of us politicians

  • Manu - 2012-05-08 07:05

    "The Cape Town Press Club has more than 500 members, of which 133 are business people and 125 journalists" Ha ha ha LOL ... that just cracked me up. So only 25% of this press club are journalists? Ha ha ha LOL They should call it the PR club.

      Lerato - 2012-05-08 09:07

      Good analysis,

  • Peter Zylstra - 2012-05-08 07:47

    So the anc is concerned about the membership since not all members are related to the press. Please can they then explain membership of the ancyl with some members being 40 years of age!

  • Jacqui - 2012-05-08 11:16

    The ANC acts like spoiled children. They are never to blame and they are never wrong. Dictatorships often start out like that.

  • mastersvoice - 2012-05-08 13:44

    So you cannot be a politician and a reporter? So if a politician were invited to talk to the Male Chauvinist Pig society, and Zuma were present as a member, would Zuma have to resign as president?

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