Independent rejects du Preez's reasons for quitting

Independent Newspapers stands by its editors' decision to attend the ANC's anniversary celebrations in party regalia and rejects Max du Preez's reasons for leaving. (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)

Independent Newspapers stands by its editors' decision to attend the ANC's anniversary celebrations in party regalia and rejects Max du Preez's reasons for leaving. (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)

Independent Newspapers on Thursday said it did not agree with Max du Preez’s reasons for resigning as the organisation’s columnist.

In his resignation letter to the group’s executive editor Karima Brown, Du Preez said one of his reasons for resigning was that he found it hard to work beside Brown after she and editor of opinion and analysis Vukani Mde were photographed wearing ANC regalia as they attended the ruling party’s birthday party at the weekend.

Independent Newspapers, however, said Brown and Mde attended the party in their private capacity. 

“Independent Media does not dictate to their staff members how they should conduct themselves in their private capacity let alone what they should wear,” the group said in a statement to the South African Press Association.

“We expect that, as senior staff members, they have full regard for their profession and will not act in a manner that will bring the company into disrepute. 

“We don’t regard the recent incident as having done that.”

Respect decision
Independent Media said it had enjoyed a good association with Du Preez and respected his decision to leave. “We do not, however, agree with his reasons for leaving and maintain our position on this matter.” 

Du Preez’s announced his resignation on his Facebook page and posted the resignation letter that he had written to Brown. 

He also criticised Independent Newspapers’s apology for an opinion piece he had written in which he criticised President Jacob Zuma. In the piece, published on December 30, and titled “Zuma – SA’s one-man wrecking ball”, Du Preez says the South African Revenue Service (Sars) and the Hawks were the “latest victims” of Zuma’s “demolition of democracy”.

“The devastation caused by ... Zuma will take years to rebuild, even if he were to leave office tomorrow.”

Du Preez offers his analysis of the political machinations he believes are behind the appointment of Tom Moyane as Sars commissioner in September, and the suspension earlier of Hawks head Anwa Dramat. 

On December 30, the presidency called the piece “racist and mind-boggling”. In his resignation letter, Du Preez said: “You did not even have the decency to send me your apology in advance or to inform me that it was going to be published.

“I thought my explanation would have convinced you that an apology in this matter would have been a travesty,” he said. “I’m writing a column for a group with leadership that I no longer respect. I feel tainted by my association with the Independent Media group.
It is time to depart once again. 

“I will betray my own past if I don’t. I will no longer be writing a column for your group,” he said. – Sapa

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