Monday, January 25, 2016

ANC Takes on Racism
21 January 2016

The ANC has instituted applications in the Equality Court against Democratic Alliance (DA) public representatives, Dianne Kohler Barnard and Chris Roberts, and former DA member, Penny Sparrow.

ANC Secretary General, Gwede Mantashe, said the ANC, as the ruling party, has a moral and legal duty to demonstrate leadership and the responsibility to prevent racial conflict and warfare. The applications are being brought primarily to restore the dignity of the African, Coloured and Indian majority and to defend our Constitution.

On Tuesday the ANC lodged an application in the Western Cape High Court against DA Member in the National Assembly, Dianne Kohler Barnard, for an order declaring that the Facebook post of Paul Kirk, shared by Dianne Kohler Barnard in September last year, is racist and constitutes hate speech and unfair discrimination as defined in the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act.

In his Founding Affidavit, Mantashe said that Kohler Barnard`s call for the return of PW Botha is to call for the return of oppression, repression, detention, torture, maiming and killing of countless African, Indian and Coloured people. In fact, it is a call for the return of the hated system of apartheid itself.

The ANC also seeks an order declaring that the conduct of Kohler Barnard denied the members and supporters of the ANC and well as the millions of Africans, Coloureds and Indians their inherent dignity and the constitutional right to have their dignity respected and protected. The Court is also called upon to declare that freedom of expression does not extend to racist utterances and hate speech.

The ANC wants Kohler Barnard to pay R500 000,00 to an organisation which promotes non-racialism, tolerance and reconciliation in South Africa and calls on the Director of Public Prosecutions to institute criminal action against her. In the Port Elizabeth High Court, the ANC applied for the same relief against DA Councillor in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality, Chris Roberts, for calling fellow Councillor, Mongameli Bobani, a "Bobbejaan" during debate in the Council Chamber on 30 July last year.

This morning the ANC instituted an application against Penny Sparrow in the Scottburgh Magistrates Court in Kwa Zulu Natal for her utterances that Blacks are monkeys to be declared hate speech and for her to pay compensation of R200 000,00 and to be prosecuted as a criminal.

On Tuesday the ANC instituted an application against Velaphi Khumalo in the Roodepoort Magistrates Court for hate speech and unfair discrimination for calling for South Africa to be cleansed of all whites as Hitler did to the Jews.

Mr Mantashe said that the ANC has many white and Jewish members and the organisation has a duty to protect its members and keep the focus on building a non-racial society. Hitler subjected Jews to the most inhumane forms of human rights violations, identical to what Africans, Coloured and Indians were subjected to in South Africa under PW Botha and Hendrik Verwoerd.

Issued by
Zizi Kodwa
National Spokesperson
African National Congress

Keith Khoza - 0828239672
Khusela Sangoni - 072 854 5707

ANC calls for war on racism

17 January 2016

The African National Congress calls on all South Africans to declare war on racism and for political parties to refrain from undermining democracy through calls that undermine a democratic outcome. The uninformed call that President Zuma must fall are a ploy to divert a real conversation on racism that finds expression in the comments of a minority belonging to a particular party that is intent of achieving the impossible return to a racist past.

It is incumbent on all South Africans and particularly political formations that we undermine the scourge of racism that reduced our country to a pariah in the standing of nations and a symbol of backward race relations. It is evident that this campaign which is privately sponsored by particular formations can only polarize society resulting in strained relations amongst our people.

Let us in our diversity embrace democratic principles and practices. Our failure to rise to the occasion will result in history judging some amongst us harshly.

The message, judging from recent events, is clear that South Africans will not tolerate foreign behavior by those seeking to reverse our hard won struggles. We encourage our people to undertake an active campaign against racism and those who want to water down democratic values.

Issued by:
Zizi Kodwa
National Spokesperson
African National Congress

Keith Khoza 082 823 9672
Khusela Sangoni 072 854 5707

Media lose veneer of objectivity with #ZUMAMUSTFALL

ANC Today

Cde Jackson Mthembu is the Chairperson of the ANC NEC SubCommittee on Communications
A lie told often enough becomes the truth; goes a dictum attributed to both Lenin and Joseph Goebbels.

The very notion of truth is always highly subjective - and should be run through various filters, not least of all the biases of whoever is propagating this so-called truth.

An even casual perusal of local and (interestingly) international coverage of South Africa the past week - particularly on the so-called #ZumaMustFall campaign, and you'd be forgiven for thinking the mass media have tossed their ethics manuals out of the window.

The media have lost sight of their responsibility to run a filter through the 'truths' being presented to the public.

The reporting on the recent Cabinet reshuffle, and the subsequent #ZumaMustFall phenomenon has been instructive.

The African National Congress (ANC) notes with interest that whilst the publications and newscasts themselves attempt to maintain the veneer of objectivity; the journalists who report for these same media have let their colours slip on another, arguably more influential platform - namely social media.

As social media rapidly displaces traditional media sources as the go-to place for breaking news, journalists have joined the digital stampede to outdo their media competitors to be the first source of information to the public.

Theoretically, this should come with a hefty responsibility - and the need to be ever mindful that what they disseminate on social media platforms should be aligned with their commitment to objectivity and neutrality.

And the argument that social media platforms are personal outlets that are not reflective of the stance of that particular media, is a hollow one, especially if one considers that elected officials and political office bearers are almost never held up to the same standard.

It has long been commonplace for instance for certain local media to scour the social media accounts of government representatives or politicians, especially of the ANC, for 'scandalous' tidbits to hold up to the public as evidence of our political shortcomings.

Considering this, we should view in a dim light the claim by all the so-called
serious journalists that 'views expressed are personal' on social media, and not reflective of their employers. And that retweets are not endorsements.

With their coverage of #ZumaMustFall, the mask has slipped. There is a double game being played, and it is there for all to see. The bogeyman and ruse of 'looming media censorship' should no longer fool anyone.

"President Zuma is now lame duck".

"You can't make a mistake this bad and this embarrassing and damaging and stay on as president. Next step is recalling him. I give it a week."

"Bring Nene Back. Bring Nene Back." "Jacob Zuma is bloody NUTS! do you announce a new Finance Minister at 10.00pm on a f**** Sunday! Man is running a clownshow".

"I protest Zumania."

"RT, Join the #ZumaMustFall gathering!"

"United Against Corruption - Join the March"

"I'd rather have a president that didn't make such mind-blowingly stupid decisions in the first place."

None of these comments, made on arguably the world's most influential social media platform, Twitter, are not from irate members of the public. They are from at least two newspaper editors, several senior journalists and one commentator from an influential business publication.

There is a fine line between reporting on an issue of national importance, an event or a phenomenon, and being seen to be endorsing a position on it.

Which is why it is acceptable practice in many of the world's most influential media to discourage journalists from venturing into opinion writing. The lines in such newsrooms are clearly deliniated between editors, writers, op-ed (leader) writers and general newsroom staff.

When editors and journalists start expressing their personal opinions on issues, that this does not colour the stance of their respective publication or broadcast, becomes a harder position to defend.

The difference though is that it is commonplace in many parts of the world, including in the so-called advanced democracies, for print and broadcast media to nail their colours firmly to one or another political mast. The Sun newspaper in Britain, for instance, is in the Conservatives camp; the Daily Telegraph is even nicknamed as the 'Daily Torygraph' by other papers. In the US, the Fox news channel is unashamedly pro-Republican.

The South African media, however, like to assert that they are 'above' such pedestrian politicking - and that they report dispassionately and objectively. Any attempt by anyone to say that a local newspaper or broadcaster has taken a political position is met with the usual howls of outrage.

Any attempt by the ANC to critically dissect the issue of whose interests the South African mass media serve, as well as to raise real and substantive issues - and the specter of 'regulation' becomes the front page news. We as the ANC, and the public at large, should no longer be fooled by this diversionary tactic.

In the seminal work "Manufacturing Consent - the Political Economy of the Mass Media', authors Noam Chomsky and Edward S. Herman analyze the performance of the mass media in the US, and the ways in which it serves to mobilize support for special interests through its choice of stories, of emphases, and importantly, of omissions.

In their coverage of the ANC over the years, the South African media have long lost the right to claim their editors and reporters are guardians of truth and objectivity. It is not without irony that social media has exposed the true motives and intentions of media whose reportage continues to serve narrow interests that remain far removed from the realities of South Africa.

If one considers just one day's coverage of the lackluster so-called 'campaign' to unseat President Jacob Zuma you will find not cold hard facts and questions (like where are the thousands of disaffected South Africans predicted) but lots of hyperbole ("thousands gathered") and tricky manipulation of imagery, like the compressed images and crash zooms on small crowds by television crews to bulk up crowd size.

However there may be far more worrying developments at play than mere exaggeration by the media of the extent of public disaffection.

Since the redeployment of Cde. Nhlanhla Nene from the Finance Ministry last week, in the tone of coverage, the framework of analysis in which certain 'truths" have been presented- the media appear to be laying the groundwork for a bigger argument, namely that the ANC is losing the country.

The mass media, as noted in 'Manufacturing Consent,' serve as "a system for communicating messages and symbols to the general populace."

As the historical record has shown, the dissemination of big enough lies through the media can serve the political interest, and as a form of psychological manipulation have the power to incite political action.

Nearly all studies into the subject of propaganda acknowledge that the most successful political propaganda is of the sustained, 'slow release' kind - that is carried in normal times, as well as in times of perceived national crisis.

The way in which #ZumaMustFall has been covered has followed the classic propaganda model. First a national event occurred that was received unfavourably by elements of the media. This was almost immediately followed by the voices of third parties including policy institutes, think tanks, and 'independent economists' - decrying the actions of the President.

The story was then rapidly picked up by international media, including esteemed publications like the Financial Times and Bloomberg, who actively sought sources who would be indicative of this 'troubled international opinion.'

With this 'new truth' (SA is doomed) being rapidly circulated and disseminated by our journalists on social media - the next logical step would be a popular movement to add weight to the argument, to add some grassroots credibility.

The only problem is that the grassroots were pretty thin - and the expected enormous demonstrations did not materialize.

It appears then that the 11 436 921 South Africans who voted overwhelmingly for the African National Congress (ANC) to lead them in the last elections, and who have consistently affirmed their support for the ANC in successive elections since democracy - were either not tweeting enough, or, as we know, they were not fooled by the anti-ANC propaganda and its disseminators, our local media.

This was not for want of trying. In an almost textbook case illustrating the point made by the authors of 'Manufacturing Consent', the media lined up 'right-thinking people' and other sources in their coverage both in the days leading up to the failed marches, and during the marches - to give the impression the country was on the brink.

There was a convenient adjusting of coverage to suit a particular view. But when Armageddon did not arrive, there has been a convenient silence.

In a bittersweet irony, the very openness, reach and easy accessibility of social media platforms have served to expose elements of the media. They have been exposed by the very 'disinfectant of sunlight' they are so eager to catch the ANC on.

The media should therefore not be troubled when the ANC as the ruling party exercizes discretion in its dealings with them. Any right-minded South African will no longer buy the argument that we are trying to reign in the free press when we choose not to deal with particular publications or broadcasters because they have historically or continue to display blatant bias in their coverage of the ANC and its leadership.

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