Amilcar Cabral told us decades ago, ‘Tell no lies, claim no easy victories’, Evidently some media agencies have not received this memo. The ANC’s National Executive Committee had its first ordinary meeting held on January 18-19. Its bi-annual Lekgotla, organised for January 20-21 as always includes its tripartite alliance partners, and is aimed at detailing the programme of the Movement for the year. Needless to note, the sittings of the NEC of the governing party are always important since it has bearing on South Africa. However, the reporting on the NEC meeting by some in the media is rather deplorable – devoid of fact, high on fabricated drama to the point of complete lies with an abnormal fixation of Zuma removal. They claim easy victories from the bedrock of their own lies.
The first extraordinary NEC meeting, which took place before the January 8 Statement was equally, miscommunicated by ENCA and some of its anchor analysts as the decisive moment of a President Jacob Zuma removal. As we all knew except for those who wanted it to be something different, the gathering was to engage the subject of the January 8 Statement and nothing else. Despite the Secretary General of the ANC Ace Magashule being clear as to the reason for the NEC meeting, those from ENCA farm continued with its own version of what it believes the NEC was for. As soon as the punters of this narrative realised that their claims or rather expectations are misguided and completely fallacious for it was never the purpose for the NEC gathering, they drummed up the second NEC meeting as the one that will remove Zuma.
When approached by some for opinion, some of us who are public in commentary, cautioned that we wait to hear the official ANC statement since there is now a history of misinformation, and lies parading as truth that usually gets dispelled by the actual statements of the ANC. Needless to say as have so often been the case the ANC statement detailed a chronological report of what was engaged and agreed. The touted subject of a Jacob Zuma removal or his resignation featured nowhere in the official NEC Statement.
The ANC’s first ordinary NEC gathering did meet and elections of its 20 member National Working Committee took place. The meeting agreed on the need to forge a social compact among government, business, labour, and communities for economic recovery as led by the resolutions of the 54th Conference. The NEC resolved at organisational level to suspend the provincial executive councils of KwaZulu-Natal and Free State to establish interim structures to unite and build the movement in preparation for provincial conferences. The NEC resolved that ongoing engagement led by President Ramaphosa and SA president Jacob Zuma to ensure effective coordination between ANC and Government continues.
It is also true that there was a motion from the floor introduced by David Masondo, which afforded as with all things a discussion on the subject of two centres of power. This motion simply had no traction to remotely speak of a concluded decision by vote or any other means hence it never made the official statement for reporting.
FICTION IF NOT BLATANT LIES
ENCA, broadcasting and its analysis is horribly exposed, as paper-thin on facts, voluminous on fiction and in overkill on Zuma removal fixation. Its usual crop of analysts in particular journalist Karima Brown led the battle charge to prepare South Africa, from days before, as to how Ramaphosa will remove Zuma; no doubt SA was duly prepared.
By Friday night late its breaking news headlined ‘NEC agreed Zuma must be removed’ and ‘he can’t be the face of government in the up run to 2019. We were told the ANC NEC by a secret ballot voted unanimously that President Zuma must be removed. According to reports it was also agreed that the Top 6, in view of this NEC decision, mandated to meet with President Zuma to convey the unanimous decision of NEC.
Not even the standard bi-annual Lekgotla, which all those of us as public commentators who follow SA and ANC politics should know usually follows the NEC meeting, was spared. It was accordingly twisted by lusty ENCA propaganda machinery as a meeting where the ANC will be informing its Alliance partners of its supposed decision. It was further exacerbated by the on sight (not inside) presence of its field journalist Thulas Simelane, who broadcasted the arrival of President Zuma in his cavalcade as an unusual out of the ordinary setting. ENCA told us President Zuma is coming as summoned to be told he is to resign unless he is willing to face a national assembly humiliation.
Not to be undone SABC News bulletin also succumbed to the practice of the colloquial fake news since it peddled this lie of a unanimous decision concluded by the NEC on Zuma removal as late as Sunday. They repeated a complete lie of the top six officials charged to deliver the message to president Zuma. We heard continuously how President Zuma as head of State would not deliver the SONA.
FIXATION WITH JACOB ZUMA REMOVAL
It is glaringly obvious that ENCA like so many in mainstream and white monopoly capital interests evidences a fixation on a Zuma removal as sole interest for our collective discourse. In democracy everyone is entitled to an opinion and the right to express views. That is not remotely what this musing is all about, but the blatant misinformation campaign that ENCA and others are running with peddled lies passing for scientific analysis.
In a normal setting an attempt at objectivity is usually standard, we in SA are long past the possibility of any attempt at objectivity for both reporting and scientific analysis on President Jacob G. Zuma. One can even live with our known and confirmed biased positions, it does not pain too much since it shows the choices we all have made. What is completely unacceptable and unethical is to misinform in fabricating details of an official meeting, more-so of the governing party that transpired whose actual official statement exposes those who reported on it in glaring fabrications and untruths. This is not the first time though.
At what stage do we keep those who peddle misinformation in public space accountable for their respective roles for the content they share as fact? Is there a time to keep media agencies accountable for the blatant lies they spread and who must keep them accountable? Does the ANC have recourse on such defamation and fabrications passing in public space for ‘analysis’? I repeat what I asked for in 2011, is it not time we vet those who claim the titles of ‘analysts’ and equally make them account for deliberately deceiving the masses with their confirmed lies?
The spreading of untruths is not just irresponsible and malicious but bereft of any ethic of true journalism or the profession of public commentary as an analyst. In fact where are the guardians who normally raise their red flags in reprimand of these actions? Where are the self-appointed custodians of the ‘under threat constitution’ who run to courts to claim the constitution is violated by politicians when it lacks the courage of conviction to tell the media and those like ENCA you are spreading falsehoods? Where is the vocal clergy who always have their own prophetic voice to berate and rebuke the ANC in Zuma leadership when ENCA fails to hold the line on basic honest reporting and is engaged in glaring misinformation campaign devoid of any respect for a common humanity.
The answer is simple, they are all part of this fixation and campaign and dare not correct their own. When it comes to President Jacob Zuma no ethics are applied; he deserves anything pilloried on him. His constitutional rights have long been smudged in 2005, obliterated by the peddle lies of a claimed Judge Hillary Squires judgement that apparently concluded on a ‘corrupt relationship between Zuma and Shaick”.
The latter the fundamental basis of a thirteen year old, 18 item charge sheet of 783 counts claim of corruption on the Arms Deal against Zuma. This misreporting and jaundiced journalism in combination with armchair pedestrian analysis continued long after Judge Squires challenged all those who claimed his ruling included those words. We know that veteran Max Du Preez in as late as December 2014 still was sharing this lie, that not even the Supreme Court Appeal (SCA) picked up on and refuted since it was also uttered in its appeal hearing. We know this had unintended consequences on the life, being and person of Jacob Zuma and his leadership of SA.
As with many things in SA, when it comes to Jacob Zuma a different ethic applies, he deserves whatever comes to him. He can be lied about; accused, denigrated, insulted it is all in order, since he was long ago stripped of a common humanity we all in constitutional sense demand and claim.
Central to this different ethic for President Zuma is the agreed work of a sponsored cohort in the profession of journalism that long ago lost the plot to attempt informing the public in reporting on fact. The postmodern and twenty first century journalist in South Africa is necessarily an automatic analyst in claim, when they share two lines of reporting, and twenty lines of opinions bereft of any analytical astuteness. ENCA has a right to make a choice and have a position, yet it has no right to misinform. It has a right to be the propaganda machinery of white monopoly capital interest it has no right to lie to us or promote those who tell lies and claim easy victories of knowing the ANC.
I ask again, is there a time to keep Media Agencies accountable for the blatant lies they spread and who must keep them accountable if not us the general public?
We must accept that the Zuma removal fixation will be in hopeful attendance of expectation, at every NEC meeting, as led by those who hitherto have made a career from it. They are necessarily proven paper thin on fact, voluminous on fiction and in overkill of fixation on a Zuma removal.