Home Opinion A lesson in journalism to News24 : “Misrepresenting Paul Mashatile”

A lesson in journalism to News24 : “Misrepresenting Paul Mashatile”

by Masibongwe Sihlahla
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Mashatile Calls for Collaborative Approach to Improve Coalition Governments in South Africa

Opinion by Masibongwe Sihlahla

Kyle Cowan, Azarrah Karrim and Sipho Masondo must really hang their heads in shame for the putrid application of reasoning they display in their desperate attempt to show up the DP Paul Mashatile in his meeting with businessmen and to cast aspersions upon his character.


The puerile journalism expressed in phrases like “a small private section that included a special chair reserved just for him” just make them sound like little boys who with glee found out the secrets of some bully in their street with which to get even with him.

Under News24 which prides themselves with Trusted News it seems manufacturing facts on the ground has taken on a whole new meaning.


When Vorster was the first National Party member or leader to address the Rand Club not one Afrikaner Afrikaner of Englishman tried to questioned his motives as any reasonable and mature journalist knows that by default any good leader and any responsible leader would meet with businessleaders and opinion makers and it would be remiss of him not to do so.


As TG of the ANC Paul Mashatile is a public person, every move of his life in public is up for public scrutiny and as TG of the ANC and DP of RSA he is accountable to the members of the ANC who elected him and the people of SA whom he represent.


TG of any other party can lead a reasonable private life but as TG of the ANC who is the governing party and Paul Mashatile who had to give up a normal private life the day he decided to fight for justice for his people who have suffered for over 350 years of oppression he had to sacrifice a private life.


As politician Paul Mashatile knows this and in meeting with business leaders there was nothing untoward it and for any intelligent and responsible reporter to try to paint these meetings in a negative light is misplaced and downright mischievous.

I must emphasize having spoken to people close to the time as TG that Paul Mashatile came into the role of TG of the ANC in 2017 and inherited a financial situation of the ANC being in the red to the tune of R215 million according to the Mkhize report.


Paul Mashatile in his inimitable way when elected TG emphasized that there is no need to worry and he immediately set about to make use of his vast network of contacts built up over many years in the struggle.


The business leaders he met to raise funds happen to be black business leaders. Black business leaders who happen to be very successful business leaders especially when it entails job creation.


Is it any wonder that News24 would be painting the meetings the then TG Paul Mashatile had in a bad light because these business leaders happen to be black? One does not want to play the race card but given the background knowledge and in the light of from where this article stems from is it any wonder?


I think not, racism has found many legitimate expressions in this country and one of the ways in which it is veiled is so called fighting corruption, but the only corruption they seem to be fighting involves blacks. You don’t need to be a rock scientist to see the big picture where this kind of reporting is going.


The cost of living and the quality of life of our people are respectively increasing and decreasing and Paul Mashatile as DP is hard-pressed to ease the burden of his people for whom he as ANC member is duty bound to secure a better life. In pursuit of that objective he is duty bound to meet with business leaders and other influencers in seeking to bring relief to our people.


Instead of questing his motives we as South African reporters and journalists should put our personal prejudices and political motivations aside and look at the big picture as long as any public official pursues the common interests of the public we should support him or her no matter what party he or she represents.

It is sad that some black journalists is so obsessed with personal enrichment that they would sacrifice even principal to satisfy their white bosses to show their right-wing colours.


If only these right wing reporters would put their prejudices aside and look at the facts which is well known by all in the field that business leaders or as they say in America the captains of industry are the key players in the modern world as pointed out by DAVOS. All across the world Multinational companies do influence many aspects of life which used to be the exclusive preserve of government not so long ago.


All over the world not only in America but all over the world political parties see to win over the business leaders on to their side. In many cases the business community is important for fundraising for the party but also to fund public private endeavours.


Many government projects are put to tender to the business sector in order to free government to concentrate on the core functions such as improving the lives of their voters. Government should play a greater role in terms of oversight in terms of public projects to uplift our people.

Many of our transport policies is driven by big business and government needs to be sensitive to the needs of big business as they are in the ideal position to create more jobs. Any TG or any DP of any party or country would be failing in his duties if he does not meet with business leaders.


In the case that News24 are making a big brouhaha about
widely-held view that business people rather than professional politicians are the key players in the modern world.


Look at how multinational companies are able to influence a whole host of things that were once the preserve of government, people say. Or look at the increasing importance that political parties – even, or especially, those on the left – put on winning over the business community.
But it is not just a question of politicians seeking support for their ideas and policies. Increasingly, business leaders are driving those ideas and policies. Or if they are not doing that, they are effectively setting policy by responding more quickly than their politician

Politics do play an enormous role in business and there is not two ways about it just as government can add value to business by creating an enabling environment for business, business on the other hand can also add value to government. These are known facts which it appears seems to have escaped the reporters from News24.


If only they would stop trying to dig dung and report the news as it happens they would do a better job in future articles. Government does not always want to legislate when they can negotiate to improve the lot of workers for example. Many times government can achieve more by negotiating with business and vice versa.


Paul Mashatile is legendary in his role as struggle leader from very young and these reporters who misreported Paul Mashatile’s meetings with business leaders should take a leaf from his page to learn what it is to serve the people and improve their lives. Paul Mashatile’s contributions as leader is legion and he is well known in his concerns about a sustainable water supply , energy supply , sustainable food supply , biodiversity and environmental degradation. If only these News24 misreporters could represent their profession in a dignified manner instead of ad hominem reporting on a Paul Mashatile a man with a proud record of struggle and sacrifice for the suffering people of our country.

An attempt to injure Paul Mashatile’s character is an attempt to injure the character of every citizen whose life he has improved in his struggle for justice over many decades. Paul Mashatile is always Public Servant No. 1, never No.2 thus this makes it so much sadder when News24 misrepresents muckraking as journalism.


Masibongwe Sihlahla
Independent Writer and Political Analyst.

Masibongwe Sihlahla Independent Writer / Political Analyst The Views Expressed Here are not those of Central News***

Masibongwe Sihlahla
Independent Writer / Political Analyst
The Views Expressed Here are not those of Central News***


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