Editorial: ANC: Yes, but no, but yes …

In an election year, perception and messaging are crucial for political parties seeking to win the hearts and minds of the electorate. Controlling perceptions and messaging falls to senior party leaders, but communicators — or, for the ANC, its “information and publicity department” — also need to be on top of their game.

Not so for the confused bunch over at Luthuli House. In the past two weeks, they have retracted a statement, retracted the retraction then retracted the initial non-retraction.

It issued an outrageous statement after the Sunday Times and City Press reported on the contents of a book by journalist Pieter-Louis Myburgh, Gangster State: Unravelling Ace Magashule’s Web of Capture, calling it “fake news”.

After that, a decision was taken at a special national executive committee meeting that the ANC secretary general should deal with the allegations in the book as an individual and not use the party as a shield. For this reason the statement about the book issued in the name of the ANC should have been retracted. Spokesperson Dakota Legoete then flip-flopped a number of times on whether it would be recalled.

This week the public was tortured with further contradictory and confusing messages from Luthuli House. Legoete confirmed to Business Day that the ANC has decided not to cross-examine Bosasa whistle-blower Angelo Agrizzi at the Zondo inquiry into state capture about his disclosure of R12-million in payments to the party’s top six officials between 2004 and 2006.

The very next day, Legoete issued a statement noting the “eclectic” reports about the matter and stated that, in fact, the ANC will cross-examine Agrizzi.

To make matters worse, the more professional communicators at Luthuli House have been sidelined or shifted to work with the party’s election head, Fikile Mbalula.

The ANC’s communicators are either extremely confused and out of their depth or simply cannot keep up with their own spin — or worse, their lies.

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.


‘Frustrated’ police resort to force

Regulation uncertainty leaves slap-happy police and soldiers to decide when people should or shouldn’t be allowed on the streets

Mail & Guardian needs your help

Our job is to help give you the information we all need to participate in building this country, while holding those in power to account. But now the power to help us keep doing that is in your hands

Press Releases

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

SAB Zenzele special AGM rescheduled to March 25 2020

New voting arrangements are being made to safeguard the health of shareholders