Zondo and the legal fraternity must take action against the media’s attempt to dictate the outcome of the inquiry

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The Judicial Commision of Inquiry into state capture was duly compromised by the fourth estate last week. The publication The Mail and Guardian has portrayed Stratcom like tendencies in a bid to dictate the outcome of the inquiry. 

Nkosinathi Mbonani

The Mail and Guardian has overstepped the line, again. In fact, the actions of the publication are tantamount to corruption.

Last week the paper published that Advocate Zibuse Comfort Ngidi, who has been recommended to be appointed as counsel in the inquiry was unfit for the position because he was a member of the ANC in Kwazulu Natal. The paper went out of its way to render Ngidi a “compromised” lawyer because of his alleged relation to former president Jacob Zuma. It is a known fact that Ngidi joined other attorneys to peruse the former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s Nkandla report. It is important to understand that it is the duty of lawyers to peruse legal reports and Madonsela being a lawyer herself was well aware of that. I hasten to mention that not everyone who lives in KZN is related; Ngidi being from KZN does not make him Zuma’s family member and does not compromise his objectivity!

The Mail and Guardian’s attack on Ngidi is proof of the capture of the media. The newspapers appeal for Ngidi to be viewed as illicit is unconstitutional! Like Vytjie Mentor and Mcebisi Jonas, Ngidi is a citizen of the republic and is protected by the constitution. I appeal to all progressive lawyers, If the Mail and Guardian and other publications continue to overlook the rule of law and objectivity within journalism then the legal fraternity must take urgent action against the paper. The inaccuracies, inconsistencies and contradictions in The Mail and Guardian’s report about Ngidi is alarming.

Firstly, It is a known fact that Vytjie Mentor took an unauthorised trip to China(at governments expense) to meet Zuma in China. Her “evidence” at the inquiry seemed so untoward and manufactured that she confused Fana Hlongwane and Brian Hlongwa to be the same person. In her book, she refers to Brian Hlongwa, a MEC of economic development as the gentlemen who was in the room when she met Guptas. It has come to light that Hlongwa has never met Mentor and wasn’t even in the country at the date in question. By all standards of the law Mentor is an inconsistent and questionable witness. But she is not attacked by the media because she defends a narrative constantly portrayed by the media.

Secondly, it is a known fact that Jonas and Gordhan represent a faction of the ANC. A faction that gained momentum when Zuma fired Gordhan and Jonas as cabinet ministers. Does someone not imagine that Jonas may be experiencing sour grapes? Why is it that no media publication in South Africa questions why Jonas got in the car with Duduzane Zuma but never asked where they were going? Why has no one brought up that Jonas is implicated in the theft of over 180 million rands directed to the funeral of former president Nelson Mandela? Why are some individuals considered innocent until proven guilty and some not?

Thirdly, EFF leader Julias Malema revealed that Ranjeni Munsamy met with him and EFF chairperson Dali Mpofu in a clandestine appeal for Malema to disrupt parliament in an aid to remove Zuma and “hire” Pravin Gordhan. There are many questions about why a Tiso Black Star journalist (who was pictured in an intimate position with ANC NEC member Derek Hanekom) would meet senior party members and appeal to them to commit treason but Malema’s expose signalled that the media in South Africa had deeply rotted.

Deputy chief Justice Zondo and the legal fraternity must act against the paid media initiative to dictate the outcome of this commision. If this inquiry is to fair there must be cross-examination of witnesses and everyone including former president Jacob Zuma must be considered innocent until proven otherwise.

 

I’m available for interviews.