Mthembu dodges tough questions on #GuptaLeaks, media tribunal

ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu did his best to evade some awkward questions on the #GuptaLeaks and media appeals tribunal during a Daily Maverick media event in Cape Town on Thursday.

Mthembu, DA spokesperson Phumzile van Damme and EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi took to the stage during a panel discussion on media and political parties, hosted by media personality Stephen Grootes.

During a round of questions, Van Damme and journalist Ranjeni Munusamy put Mthembu on the spot by asking if he had taken steps to discipline any members in his caucus implicated in the so-called #GuptaLeaks.

“On that issue, go and ask Gwede Mantashe … if any of those members of the ANC have been called to account for that information,” he responded.

“At this point in time, I’m not privy to that information.

“It’s only logical that people can be called when there are all these things around their names.”

Van Damme wanted to know if he had had conversations with MPs who have been implicated.

“We should refer that question to the answer that we have given,” he replied.

“We do not have different mechanisms. It’s a fair question, but we have a way of dealing with our deployees, and that way is through our political authority, which is vested in the office of the secretary general of the ANC.”

Media appeals tribunal

With regards to the ANC’s plans for a media appeals tribunal, the party was only now calling for a public debate in Parliament on what other mechanisms can be put in place to hold print media accountable, he claimed.

“As media, you charge all of us without exception. That’s the influence you hold. You can get into our bedrooms, you can get into our bathrooms,” he said in response to a question from Munusamy.

“Therefore, is the current mechanism to hold you accountable sufficient?

“When you self-regulate, in our view, maybe you can do better?”

Mthembu stressed that the government was not trying to control the media, but rather wants media to find a better mechanism to “independently” hold itself accountable.

Host Stephen Grootes asked why the ANC is so focussed on print media when the industry is actually in decline.

“We are quite aware that you are shrinking, but you are still an important player. We can’t just close our eyes.”

Mthembu motivated for a potential media Truth and Reconciliation Commission earlier during a speech, saying media role players should apologise to the people of South Africa for the role it played during apartheid.

He asked that the media look at the role it must play in a non-racial, non-sexist democratic South Africa going forward, as it is still affected by apartheid’s legacy.

The ANC resolved at its policy conference that a possible Media Appeals Tribunal can answer some of these questions going forward, he said.

SABC’s renewal

Mthembu was also put on the spot about the renewal of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC).

He admitted criticism of the ANC was valid, but maintained that the party has risen to the occasion.

He assured the panel and the audience that Parliament and his caucus would for its part put forward candidates that can handle managing the broadcaster at board level.

He also said that the current Communications Minister Ayanda Dlodlo and the interim board will ensure the new board can take over its duties effectively.

Van Damme interjected and said it wasn’t the ANC who rose to the occasion but the SABC inquiry, which was one of the great multi-party achievements of Parliament.

‘Preaching to the converted’

All three panelists agreed that South Africa without media would be a disaster.

Ndlozi said that he can’t imagine a democracy without media. He also believed self-regulation was the way to go, but it needed teeth.

South Africa’s media suffered from a legacy of “apartheid geography”.

The vast majority of poor people in rural areas who have the capacity to change the political landscape are not being addressed as readers.

The big media houses are essentially preaching to the converted with their exposes.

He lauded the SABC for being the only outlet with the capacity to reach different audiences in their languages. – News24

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.

Paul Herman
Paul Herman works from London. London based Songwriter/Producer. Paul has written songs for Artists like Dido, Emeli Sande, Corinne Bailey Rae, Eminem, Izzy Bizu, Raleigh Ritchie... Paul Herman has over 260 followers on Twitter.
Advertising

READ IT IN FULL: Ramaphosa’s address on the extension of...

This is the full address given by President Cyril Ramaphosa on April 9

Meet the doctor leading Africa’s fight to contain the coronavirus...

Dr Matshidiso Moeti’s father helped to eliminate smallpox. Now she’s leading Africa’s efforts against the coronavirus

Stella set to retain her perks

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

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

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