Boksburg mayor slams media

“We now deal with nameless officials… who don’t grasp the need for urgency in responding to journalists’ questions’ .. Kathy Grosvenor, editor of Springs Advertiser

Mondli Gungubele —  the local ANC-mayor in the primarily working-class Afrikaner towns which used to be known as Brakpan, Springs,  Boksburg etc — has called twelve local editors of Caxton community newspapers on the carpet on May 5 2011 to ‘iron out their differences’. However Boksburg mayor slams Media May52011 meeting 12 Caxton editors Kathy Grosvenor rightCaxton representative Kathy Grosvenor instead took Gungubele to task for the uncaring, untruthful and lax attitude of ANC-city officials towards journalists.

  Caxton journalist Sandile van Heerden  carefully described the contents of the meeting in Caxton’s Boksburg publication as amiable, noting that the mayor had called the meeting, and that Gungubele basically hammered on about ‘truthful and responsible journalism’ –  referring particularly to the gutsy local coverage of the dreadful Andries Tatane murder at the hands of a disgraceful gaggle of armed cops – the pictures and videos of Tatane’s horrific death have sent shockwaves all over the world.

ANC is terrified of ‘negative news coverage’ overseas:

And if there’s one thing the ANC-regime worries about, is negative publicity: they rely totally on their propaganda machine to keep churning out only ‘positive news’ so that the multi-billion dollar funding for their fraudulent regime will keep flowing in from abroad.

Caxton’s official representativeCathy Grosvenor, the editor of the Springs Advertiser, however took the opportunity to take this city council official to task about the great difficulties faced by the local media ever since the new ANC-municipality had unilaterally incorporated several other city-councils into a central entity which renamed itself Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipalities –  EMM for short.

Grosvenor said: “This centralisation of the various town councils meant that individual newspapers in each town lost contact with the municipal officials who previously lived in the towns that they served. The type of relationships we had with these officials was trust-based and allowed journalists better insights when writing stories, ensuring in-depth and well-rounded articles.”

We now deal with nameless officials… who don’t seem to grasp the need for urgency in responding to journalists’ questions…’  Kathy Grosvenor, editor of Springs Advertiser.

Grosvenor basically asked Gungubele for ‘city council officials to be  more accountable in their comments: “ saying: “We now deal with nameless officials and the system of sending questions and receiving answers can be restricting, as the answers often lead to new questions,” she said. “Reporters often do not feel that they have grasped the complexities of the issue and the type of TATANE WILLEM KILLED BY SAPS FICKSBURG APR142011 beeld WvdBergreporting reflects this.”

One hand-delivered urgent request for comment was not replied to for two months…

Another problem they have with the new centralised ANC-system of municipal governance, she said, was that their officials “don’t seem to grasp the need for urgency in newsrooms in getting stories confirmed”. As an example she cited the case in which a hand-delivered letter which requested urgent comments to an article was not responded to for two months.

The mayor agreed with everything Grosvenor said – and even admitted that EMM officials should indeed be more accountable or the statements they make to the news media : however that’s clearly not what he was there for:  instead he demanded  ‘truthful and responsible journalism’: and expressed his unhappiness about the way the news media had so openly reported the on-camera murder by a gang of Ficksburg cops of Cope-opposition party member Andries Tatane .

What? An apology from an ANC-city official for lying through his teeth?

Grosvenor’s complaint seems to have hit a nerve: within days of the meeting, one metro-spokesman, Zweli Dlamini issued an apology for ‘incorrect facts he had presented in a response to criticism about the lack of municipal maintenance in the suburb of Dal Fouché.” This may appear to be minor: but in crime-riddled South Africa, residential areas with long grass pose several dangers, including the fact that criminals find comfortable hiding places in the long grass; and that unkept, overgrown sites also hampers vision in traffic.

Dlamini apologised for claiming that the ‘grass in Dal Fouche had been cut just a week before”, in response to a critical letter, ‘Noisy fence drives neighbour mad’ – and he also apologised for demanding to know the addresses of the people who had complained. In response the local Dal Fouché Community Association (DFCA) showered Dlamini with photos showing he’d lied through his teeth.  “It is clear that Mr Dlamini is either not in touch with the true situation about the parks division not attending to their duties or has been brought under a misconception,” commented the DFCA. Dlamini apologised and said he’d get himself better informed about the local situation.

SAPF sergeant Mnape Phineas Kgoale denied bail for Janet Odendaal’s execution-style murder in April 2011
Odendaal Jeanette EXECUTED BY COP PHONED 10111 sergeant denied bail ODENDAAL Jeanette witness Baloyi shows HOW SHE WAS EXECUTED BY COP Kempton Park 4 May 2011 Kempton Park journalist Gerhardt Theron writes that the  bail application of Sgt Mnape Phineas Kgoale (38), who is charged with the execution-style murder of Janet Odendaal last week, was bail denied in Kempton Park Magistrate’s Court this afternoon. Ms Odendaal (45) was sitting inside her car, calling the police emergency numer 10111, just moments before a police officer shot her dead execution-style in her car, parked in front of Kempton Park Police Station. It has come to light at the bail application that Kgoale had booked himself into the Elim Clinic for alcohol addiction between March 26 to April 2 and had earlier in the year, also been treated for mental illness. He remains in custody until June 23 pending investigations.The court also heard Kgoale was “in a very emotional state because his girlfriend did not want to allow him to see their six-year-old daughter” because of his violent, erratic behaviour and alcoholism.

About Adriana Stuijt
Retired South African-Dutch journalist formerly Sunday Times Johannesburg

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