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Own correspondent, Johannesburg11 Apr 2001 00:00
THE African National Congress has accused prominent journalist Max du Preez of being a racist for saying that President Thabo Mbeki is a womaniser, accused him of “irresponsible behaviour which bordered on hate speech?.
In an emotional statement, ANC national spokesman Smuts Ngonyama said: ?Max du Preez and his ‘old friends’ have clearly embarked on a war path and such statements are a declaration of war.?
He also attacked The Citizen newspaper, which published Du Preez’ remarks, saying the newspaper had ?retreated to its historical laager as a paper initiated to be the propaganda instrument of the apartheid regime.”
Du Preez reportedly told The Editors radio programme on Sunday: “He is seen as a womaniser.
It is publicly known and I think we should start talking about this, that the President has this kind of personal life.
Du Preez made the remarks in the context of a letter written by ANC Women’s League President Winnie Madikizela-Mandela to Deputy President Jacob Zuma, in which she denied accusing Mbeki of womanising.
The letter was published in the Sunday Times in January, although the newspaper at the time said it had decided not to repeat the “rumours” referred to by Madikizela-Mandela as there was no evidence that it would be in the public interest to do so.
However, the Mail and Guardian in its Krisjan Lemmer column went ahead and quoted extensively from it.
Madikizela-Mandela wrote that Mbeki had accused her at a national working committee meeting “of telling Linda Zama at Comrade Ismail Meer’s funeral that he [Mbeki] had taken Comrade Shilowa’s wife one evening and brought her back at 5am”.
Madikizela-Mandela claimed the rumours about the president had been circulating for some time at ANC headquarters, Luthuli House, and they had even reached the media.
“The City Press was about to publish them but was persuaded not to do so. Worse, the reporter had been given not only the name of Mrs Shilowa, but four other women, one of whom was Linda Zama, the others, ministers and deputy ministers!,” she wrote.
Ngonyama did not refer to either Madikizela-Mandela’s letter or the fact that rumours of the president’s alleged infidelity had already been printed.
“From du Preez’ allegations, the ANC has learnt that amongst some sections in our society respect and dignity is accorded only those with a certain type of pigmentation and being black and powerful qualifies one to be the recipient of a barrage of insults and abuse,” Ngonyama said.
CCMA rejects Du Preez claim July 27,1999
Du Preez remains fired April 21, 1999
Du Preez: Why they fired me April 21, 1999
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