Zille challenges Survé on political independence

2015-01-19 06:26

Cape Town - Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille on Sunday questioned the independence of Independent Newspapers.

She called on executive chairperson Iqbal Survé to give answers about the group's stance on producing the highest standards of excellence, maintaining credibility and keeping the trust of its readers, as stated in the preamble to the SA Press Code.

In open letter to Survé, Zille asked: "Is it acceptable to issue an apology to the president on the basis of an inaccuracy in a published opinion piece, when senior editors were fully aware that the column in question was indeed factually correct?"

The letter was published on the DA website.

Max du Preez column

She was referring to a piece written by columnist Max Du Preez, published in Independent Newspapers on 30 December, titled [President Jacob] Zuma - SA's one-man wrecking ball.

In the column, Du Preez wrote: "The devastation caused by... Zuma will take years to rebuild, even if he were to leave office tomorrow."

He offered his analysis of the political machinations he believed were behind the appointment of Tom Moyane as SA Revenue Services commissioner in September, and the suspension of Hawks head Anwa Dramat.

The presidency referred to the piece as "racist and mind-boggling".

Independent Newspapers later issued an apology for the column.

On Thursday, in his resignation letter published on Facebook, Du Preez lashed out at the group's executive editor Karima Brown.

"You did not even have the decency to send me your apology in advance or to inform me that it was going to be published.

"I thought my explanation would have convinced you that an apology in this matter would have been a travesty," he said.

ANC support

Du Preez said another reason for his resignation was that he found it hard to work beside Brown after she and editor of opinion and analysis Vukani Mde were photographed wearing ANC clothing as they attended the ruling party's birthday party at the weekend.

Zille said in wearing ANC colours, Brown and Mde demonstrated that they were unapologetically for the African National Congress.

She called on Survé to give clarity on the matter.

"Is it acceptable to attend a political party’s birthday celebrations in colours of support, as the most senior editors of a group’s titles, and actively promote and advertise this action in the public space?" she questioned.

Zille said Mde had already made his position clear by stating he would have “no problem” with his colleagues emulating him by going to a political bash wearing party clothing, and then actively promoting this practice in this public space.

Political independence

"Does this approach constitute the 'highest standards' when it comes to managing perceptions of political independence?

"Or do you concur, contrary to what you assured me when you visited me in my office several months ago, that the 'Independent Group' has now forfeited its independence and become a mouthpiece for the Zuma faction of the ANC?" Zille asked Survé.

She said like the Hawks, the National Prosecuting Authority, the Sars and the Electoral Commission of SA, the country's 'independent' media houses were vulnerable to being captured, through the "(ab)use of public funds, by elements in the ruling party".

"Independent Newspapers seems to have abandoned their readers to pursue a political project," she said.

"If this is the case, then the group must be honest with readers about this and not pretend to be anything different. People deserve to know this upfront, which is why I seek answers to these questions," she said.

Survé could not be immediately reached for comment.

  • Del Pearson - 2015-01-19 06:35

    Well done Helen - lets see what poor excuses will come to the fore.

      Jurgen Hartmann - 2015-01-19 07:31

      Who "sells" more newspapers to the anc gutterment and gets sponsored for more BS breakfasts? Guptarag or ServeyBSrags?

      Freddie Miller - 2015-01-19 09:25

      Why even ask? We all know the "Independent" Group is an ANC mouthpiece, and Survé is their stooge. I prefer that they are open about it, rather than try con us that they are objective and independent.

      Revelgen - 2015-01-19 09:45

      Surve is a wimpy little toad, greedily licking up the crumbs that fall from his master's table. And his master - the ANC - are clearly on a Communist-type mission to stamp out any criticism of their corruption. People, it's now past time to tear down this corrupt, evil government that is always stealing from the poor via the public kitty. Before we have Zim-type 90% unemployment.

      Made Inthe South - 2015-01-19 20:18

      Boycot Indepent group BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT INDEPENDENT.Iqbal Surve is just like the Guptas who will support the ZANC with his nespapers to steer government ads in his direction and to get bulk buys like the government is buying The Gupta Age newspaper in bulk for government offices

  • Ian Harrison - 2015-01-19 06:36

    Stand by for a demonstration of political wriggling.

      Jurgen Hartmann - 2015-01-19 07:37

      Iqbal bought Non-independent Newspapers using an interest free loan from the Government Pension Fund. Icckie, have you repaid the pensioners????

  • Chris Bothma - 2015-01-19 06:46

    I have to agree with Zille this time. Journalists must be independent and be seen as independent. Also it is their duty to challenge this intolerant and anti-democratic behavior of our corrupt government. By apologizing to the ANC this paper has lost credibility.

      Made Inthe South - 2015-01-19 20:20

      Boycot Indepent group BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT INDEPENDENT.Iqbal Surve is just like the Guptas who will support the ZANC with his nespapers to steer government ads in his direction and to get bulk buys like the government is buying The Gupta Age newspaper in bulk for government offices

  • rob.pienaar.9 - 2015-01-19 06:49

    DA sees an opportunity to try and make political capital. Too late I'm afraid. Our brief moment of Democracy has already passed. All that's left for good people to do is to simply stop supporting Independant publications.

      ruffieb - 2015-03-17 14:38

      The fight for democracy is a never ending process, because democracy entails freedom of speech, freedom of thought and freedom to be. The kleptocratic ANC challenges all these concepts. Even without the ANC democracy is no given standardizied good, but has to be struggled through. I do however understand what you are saying.

      Truthseeker - 2015-08-04 18:30

      Rob, the DA is not trying to make political capital in this instance. The problem is that the attack on our democracy by the corrupt, thieving anc and all the cadres, is NEVER-ENDING. It's almost impossible for the DA to keep up with all the corruption that it needs to fight! I agree - STOP SUPPORTING ANY (NON)INDEPENDANT NEWSPAPERS PUBLICATIONS - I did long ago.

  • Anton Pretorius - 2015-01-19 07:12

    I hope those with backbone will stop buying and reading this newspaper

      Genet Joobs - 2015-01-19 08:42

      I have stopped already. Will never buy them again.

      Dave - 2015-01-19 12:37

      I cancelled my subscription to the Cape Times and the Argus before they issued the apology. a) THeir treatment of their journalists has become terrible - Danois, Weaver, du Preez and others b) Their articles have become tabloid in style. Poor writing. c) Recently the Cape Times was one big Advertorial for the ANC

  • Desmond Jones - 2015-01-19 07:16

    Zuma does not care about the wellbeing of South Africa. Who ever succeeds him will inherit a mess and I am sure this is what he wants as it will take years to rectify and keep his ass covered.

  • Aunt Agatha - 2015-01-19 07:19

    It is a strange and mystifying thing. There are educated people in this country who are ANC voters. It absolutely boggles the mind. These people have university qualifications and hold high positions. Yet, they vote for the clowns. Every sane South African should ask: "Why?!"

      konfab - 2015-01-19 07:24

      They have their hands in the cookie jar?

      Jurgen Hartmann - 2015-01-19 07:33

      I your ass was getting fat from the money you are getting from the struggle buddies, you would vote for anyone....

      Freddie Miller - 2015-01-19 09:28

      It is called Patronage. If they don't support Zooma they get removed.

      Aunt Agatha - 2015-01-19 10:34

      MadDog, you live in Cloudcuckoo land if you actually believe that.

      Aunt Agatha - 2015-01-19 10:34

      MadDog, you live in Cloudcuckoo land if you actually believe that.

  • Nicholas Breakey - 2015-01-19 07:22

    Boycott independent

      Aunt Agatha - 2015-01-19 07:30

      Have already done so!

      Truthseeker - 2015-08-04 18:33

      I have also been boycotting these anc-mouthpieces for a long time now.

  • Pieter Basson - 2015-01-19 07:25

    Cancelled our subs to Cape Times.

  • Shireen Eva - 2015-01-19 07:27

    @Aunt Agatha....I think the lure of having their nests finely feathered for years to come is too enticing to resist.

  • Janine Filmer - 2015-01-19 07:27

    I was the third generation of my family to work for one of the "Independent" Newspapers group. Today I am ashamed that I ever had any association with them. They have become an anc mouthpiece.

  • Leon Gerber - 2015-01-19 07:31

    Helan must be naive! Its impossible to be independant (no pun intended ) when you need government orfers to survive, iqbal Swerve a 2 bit con

  • Laurence Weyers - 2015-01-19 07:32

    Moudy, there is nothing wrong with an open letter, seeing as most of the publishing platforms and broadcast media is under the direct control of the ANC or it's lapdogs. If and when the ANC does and will loose a majority standing at the voters booth, then yes, the DA will be there to take this country forward, reconcile a once again divided nation, and develop this country to its potential. Just take a look at how far advanced the Western Capes' economy is as opposed to any other provincial economy in the country. Currently Zuma is incapable, and has never been capable of leading this country. He is a political thug.

  • Andre Steenkamp - 2015-01-19 07:44

    It has to be noted how anything racial (white on black) in the southern suburbs (a traditionaly non racial hub of the western cape and a DA stronghold ) is given full front page news, to try stir racial tensions against DA and this community. It is extremely transparent... No educated South African will Vote ANC whilst they have a band of thugs ruling the has to ask why the education system is so in the Doldrums ( when it is the one department that could free the people from being a slave to poverty)..clearly an uneducated population is easier to Master.... a lesson that they have learned from the old National Party ...ironical? Its is sad that we Africans don't see ourselves in a better light...Africa as a whole is sick...we lack the carageous leadership that took the suppressed people to a better life in the rest of world..Africa's leaders on average see her people as a possession of self indulgence... Where is our pride ?

      Leroy Reynolds - 2015-01-19 10:27

      kindness in this country is as rare as its oil!

  • Ronald Gibson - 2015-01-19 07:49

    The Star, Argus and Cape Times have lost my business. Without advertising revenue this group will not have a reason to exist as they are not in it for the service to the public but for the money and to serve the interests of the ANC. So feel free to take your advertising revenue elsewhere.

      Truthseeker - 2015-08-04 18:37

      Let's all try to get more people and businesses to boycott all the newspapers in this group. Am sure many people do not realise that the Cape Time, The Argus and The Star are no longer genuinely independent, as they traditionally used to be - I did not realise this until a friend woke me up to the fact.

  • Wally Hemmings - 2015-01-19 07:51

    Long live the Citizen. The only English language newspaper that is objective and fair and where it's letters page publishes all opinions.

      Bruce Gatland - 2015-01-19 08:22

      The citizen was also bought with public money and served a political master - the Nats. I will never buy the Citizen.

      Riaan Werner Van Wyk - 2015-01-19 08:35

      viva the mail & guardian!

      Riaan Werner Van Wyk - 2015-01-19 08:35

      viva the mail & guardian!

      Tersia Louw - 2015-01-19 10:30

      The Citizen apologised for a cartoon they published; spineless jellyfish.

  • amadeus.geldenhuys - 2015-01-19 08:02

    The days of the printed media will end faster than we expect. To have immediate electronic access to news will make the printed media obsolete. Their demise is imminent regardless of the brown stain around their neck

  • Mike TheoneAndonly Meets - 2015-01-19 08:09

    Survé sounds like a bit of an idiot if u ask me

  • Amanda Matthews - 2015-01-19 08:29

    Who buys printed media anymore anyway. The last time I bought a newspaper was about 10 years ago.

  • rob.pienaar.9 - 2015-01-19 08:34

    Bruce: You are right of course. Yet another opportunity for me to quote "The more things change the more they remain the same". But some things do changethings

  • Searcher SA - 2015-01-19 08:37

    Well done HZ for exposing this. Only time I will now buy any "Independent Newspaper" is when I need it to pack fragile goods in a carton box or need newspaper at the bottom of my cat litter box.

  • rob.pienaar.9 - 2015-01-19 08:37

    Let me try again: .....Some things do change though - Just as the Citizen was once a NP sponsored mouthpiece, so the Independant Group used to be just that - independant.

  • ivan.kraemer - 2015-01-19 08:41

    It's game over for freedom of speech and democracy in SA. The ANC will eradicate all competition and the only battle to be fought will be within the party itself. As one corrupt member shafts another corrupt member. Join in on the corruption and diddle your tax for starters. Don't pay TV license or eTolls. Forget being a model citizen because soon you will be the only one in the country.

  • Theo Konings - 2015-01-19 09:09

    I have ended my subscriptions to both the Cape Times and The Argus after many years as I have noticed the obvious cANCer leanings in Independent Newspapers. Lets see if your new political bedmates will buy your puplications Icky.

  • Dusty Sam - 2015-01-19 10:17

    Just renewed my annual subscription to independent publication. Love their impartiality

  • Secrecy Bill - 2015-01-19 10:30

    Surve Iqbal is a Sunni Muslim whose agenda is to promote Islam in SA through Independent Newspapers and gaining the support of a naive president by simultaneously spreading cheap ANC propaganda ! (Objective : SA a Muslim state ! ! ! )

  • Willem Louw - 2015-01-19 10:32

    It is clear that a very large majority of South Africans don't understand concepts like democracy, with freedom of speach and media independence as one of its cornerstones. At least I hope that they don't understand. The alternative implies that they understand but have no regard for democracy, fairness, equality and independent speach - which is far worse. People need to understand that a president is not a King - he is a public servant. He is not above the law. And the president shows blatant disregard for democracy and laws of the country we have problem. We have an even bigger problem when the people condone and perpetuate it by attacking a person who writes an independant factual article.

  • Jacqui Daane Van Rensburg - 2015-01-19 11:20

    When the media is under control the dictatorship is almost complete. Wait and see.

  • Sizwe Majola - 2015-01-19 11:23

    Can Mail & Guardian remain independent when they draw the line on the sand on their deliberate ill-report on the ruling party. Are we saying that only Helen should control (given the approve & submit button from her iPad) what we hear in the media . . . that goes exactly against what they advocate for - freedom of the press! DA has a "listen to me only" syndrome . . . not sure they think before issuing such statements. When the DA gets into power they would do exactly what they fought against - whoever writes about Racism in Western Cape will be grilled & ordered to provide urine samples / DNA samples to prove their unfounded theories.

      Truthseeker - 2015-08-04 18:41

      Sorry Sizwe, you can't paint the DA with the same filthy anc brush. You are clearly living in la-la land.

  • Leon Alhadeff - 2015-01-19 12:34

    Helen Zille might just have to wait for a response .......Luthuli House is proof reading it right now ;-)

      Truthseeker - 2015-08-04 18:42

      Will take at least 3 months!

  • Atheena Sante Carlo Elsa - 2015-01-19 13:36

    That is if they even answer to this

  • Laurence Weyers - 2015-01-19 15:42

    I have just read that they have fired John Scott and Tony Weaver from the Cape Times. Two of the most harmless columnists possible. John Scott was the Tavern of the Seas and Tony Weaver was a Naturist, forever goung caravaning and touring Africa. What the hell is going on at this so called "Independent" newspapers

      Truthseeker - 2015-08-04 18:43

      Simple, all Capetonians must boycott the cape times and the argus. These once-famous and totally independent papers, have been high-jacked by anc vultures. RIP.

  • Ivy Yetton - 2015-01-19 16:21

    Surve is an immature pathetic person. I have cancelled all my subscriptions to the three newspapers. His editorial with regards to the French tragedy finally convinced me.

  • Truth.speak - 2015-01-19 23:40

    Well done Helen, Iqbal is such a slime ball

      ruffieb - 2015-03-17 14:45

      His real name is Iqbal Scurvy.

  • Truth.speak - 2015-01-19 23:45

    Stop reading Iqbal's "independent", support the genuine indep press, especially Daily Maverick.

  • sailorguy - 2015-02-02 16:28

    There cannot be a dispute any longer that the independent group has been compromised. Iqbal Surve and his appointees are firmly behind the ANC. Great pity. liberation movements clinging on to power in the 20th century are a curse to progress on the continent of Africa.

      Truthseeker - 2015-08-04 18:45

      Sailorguy, I agree 100%. On a side note - we are actually in the 21st century now :)

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