ANC Must Not Attack Press Freedom, says DA

By Oliver Ngwenya    20-Aug-2014 02:20 UTC+02:00
driaan Basson the Beeld Editor who has come under fire from ANC for saying South Africa needs a new leader. Photo:

Adriaan Basson, the Beeld Editor who has come under fire from ANC for saying South Africa needs a new leader. Photo: Wellness.

The Democratic Alliance, South Africa’s main opposition, has told the African National Congress, the ruling party that attacking the Beeld publication editor, Adriaan Basson about his opinion piece on the Nkandla Scandal will not make the whole saga go away.

In a piece entitled ‘ How do we get rid of President Jacob Zuma’, that originally appeared in his own publication and was also taken up by News24, Basson expresses several rather pointed and radical points, among which he says President cannot stay on much longer as the president of the republic and that South Africa needs a new leader. He continues to argue that Zuma is definitely not the leader that South Africa needs and this has not been more clearly illustrated as in his response in parliament to the results of the Public Protector’s investigation into the security upgrades at his Nkandla homestead in KwaZulu Natal. Thuli Madonsela found that Zuma and his family benefitted in an improper manner from the upgrades and she further recommended that he needed to pay back some of the money to the state. In his response to parliament which was only presented recently, Zuma tasked mainly the Police Minister to look into the matter and recommend to parliament how much, if anything, the president would need to pay back to the state.

In its response to the article by Basson, the ANC, through its spokesman Zizi Kodwa, said that the Beeld editor had resorted to lies about the president in order to drive his agenda home. It further accused that Editor Adriaan was campaigning to get rid of President Zuma. In his response to these accusations, Basson said that the article was ‘a call to arms against the president’ but he was just putting into words the generally held perception about Zuma’s leadership, both inside and outside of the ruling party. In an attempt to counter the attack on the scribe, the DA spokesman Marius Redelinghuys said that this was the ANC attacking the country’s freedom of expression as well as press freedom in an attempt to ‘divert public attention from Nkandla.’ He further urged the ruling party to leave the independent media to play its role of ensuring a democratic society.

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