Presidency condemns M&G reporting on soldiers’ memorial

President Jacob Zuma spoke at the memorial service of 13 soldiers on Tuesday, who died in the Central African Republic (CAR) in March.

  • Read the full speech here

The presidency said the Mail & Guardian’s article, which read: “It was a speech thin on condolences but heavily laced with accusation and warning," was an attempt to not cover the tribute to the soldiers.

“The fact is that the president paid tribute to the soldiers and then stated government’s position on the deployment. The media has a responsibility to report on what he said, even if they disapprove of it, so that the public can be able to make their own judgment,” presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj said in the statement.

Zuma said: "The tears of grief from the families are both inevitable and deserved, because of the calibre of men we have lost. To the families, your pain is shared by thousands of South Africans in many corners of the country and the continent. 

"When future generations ask what kind of men and women these were, who gave so much of their lives to the service of the people of South Africa and the continent, we will be able to boldly say how special they were, to put their own lives at risk for such a noble mission of building peace in the continent."

The presidency said: “We urge media to report in a balanced fashion on this sensitive matter and not be used by various interests nor allow its own partisan positions to deprive its readers from the viewpoint of the president and government.”

M&G editor-in-chief Nic Dawes responded: “President Zuma chose to devote a considerable proportion of his remarks at the memorial service to a political attack on the press, and others who are demanding that he account fully for his decisions in relation to the CAR. Our reporting reflects that choice."

Damage
The ANC on Monday accused the M&G of damaging and malicious reporting, "calculated to damage the image of the ANC and to sow distrust in noble decisions of the South African government that derive from public and transparent policies". It said it was considering legal action.

The party also said the paper was "pissing on the graves of gallant fighters who put their lives on the line in service of our country and our continent".

"Given the seriousness of this accusation, we will consider all options at our disposal including approaching the courts of law for recourse and to honour those who are fallen whose sacrifice has been rubbished by the Mail & Guardian," the ANC said in a statement dated March 28.

That statement came in response to an article in Thursday's edition of the paper, which linked fixer Didier Pereira and his business projects in the Central African Republic (CAR) with the decision to deploy troops to that country.

"What is most disturbing with the accusation are blatant lies that suggest that a company linked to the ANC has business interest in CAR," the party said.

"We have established that the said company has no business activity in CAR. While their accusation is false, we believe that South Africans have a right to do business anywhere in the world including the continent of Africa." 

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Advertisting

Stella set to retain her perks

Communication minister will keep Cabinet perks during her two months of special leave

Not a sweet deal, Mister

Mister Sweet workers say they will not risk their health, and the lives of others, to continue producing and packaging confectionaries

Covid-19 grounds Nigeria’s medical tourists

The country’s elites, including the president, travelled abroad for treatment but now they must use the country’s neglected health system

Nehawu launches urgent court bid over protective gear for health...

The health workers’ union says the government has rebuffed its attempts to meet about mitigating risks to workers

Press Releases

Rahima Moosa Hospital nursing college introduces no-touch facial recognition access system

The new system allows the hospital to enrol people’s faces immediately, using artificial intelligence, and integrates easily with existing access control infrastructure, including card readers and biometrics

Everyone’s talking about it. Even Kentucky

Earlier this year South African fried chicken fast-food chain, Chicken Licken®, launched a campaign for their wallet-friendly EasyBucks® meals, based on the idea of ‘Everyone’s talking about it.’

New energy mix on the cards

REI4P already has and will continue to yield thousands of employment opportunities

The online value of executive education in a Covid-19 world

Executive education courses further develop the skills of leaders in the workplace

Sisa Ntshona urges everyone to stay home, and consider travelling later

Sisa Ntshona has urged everyone to limit their movements in line with government’s request

SAB Zenzele’s special AGM postponed until further notice

An arrangement has been announced for shareholders and retailers to receive a 77.5% cash payout

20th Edition of the National Teaching Awards

Teachers are seldom recognised but they are indispensable to the country's education system

Awards affirm the vital work that teachers do

Government is committed to empowering South Africa’s teachers with skills, knowledge and techniques for a changing world