Letters to the editor: September 9 to 15 2016

DA story distorts facts

It is unfortunate that Athandiwe Saba attempted to discredit some members of the Democratic Alliance’s Johannesburg mayoral committee (Oddballs in Mashaba’s A-team). Unlike the ANC, the DA has a splendid track record of appointing people on merit. The Western Cape has been a well-governed province since the DA took over from the ANC.

Saba’s reference to Rabelani Dagada’s visit to Israel in an article about a local election issue shows the obsessive preoccupation of anti-Israel activists. It is Dagada’s democratic right to seek the facts rather than believing vitriolic propaganda.

Dagada is correct to say Israel is not an apartheid-style state. Many others have come to the same conclusion after a visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories.

Saba should take to heart the words of Michael Gove, Britain’s former justice minister: “Across the world, the new anti-Semites rally behind the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign. And the people behind it have the temerity to compare Israel with apartheid South Africa, even though Israel is a country which gives all its citizens – whatever their background, whatever their ethnicity – a vote and a say. A country with Arab politicians in the Knesset and an Arab lawyer on the Supreme Court.”

You should respect people’s democratic right to travel wherever they want and leave the mayoral committee of Johannesburg to serve the people of the city as best as they can. – Willie Paterson, Cape Town

■ One of the problems facing ordinary citizens like me is how to arrive at a reasonably accurate, even-handed view of politics and politicians. This is especially difficult when I have no personal knowledge of those involved or first-hand evidence concerning the events reported on.

For years I relied on the Mail & Guardian to be reasonable and even-handed, then I read an article in the M&G about someone I have personally known since 1981 – Anthony Still. I cannot even begin to recognise the caricature painted of him. Incoherent, disconnected one-liners and innuendo are used to suggest that he is corruptible and a supporter of neo-apartheid.

Still does not need me to defend his integrity (although he is one of a handful of people in public service who is incorruptible) and his deep commitment to the marginalised and powerless in our society. Had the journalist done proper research, she would have found this theme running throughout Still’s life.

I have read Still’s writing over the years and, whether or not one agrees with him, a consistent feature is intellectual rigour and a refusal to bow to political correctness when the evidence takes him elsewhere.

The sadness for me is that now, when I read about people I do not know in the M&G, I ask myself whether I can rely on it any more than I can on the SABC. – Keith Matthee SC, Greyton

Read more: M&G article on Naspers conflates two unrelated matters

Read more: UP’s centre of athletic excellence and M&G make sport of SA’s Olympic committee

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