The ANC Women’s League (ANCWL) released a statement on Wednesday criticising an article run on The Citizen’s website that reported on allegations that its president, Bathabile Dlamini, had not been sober while addressing an event on Friday.
In its statement, the league mistakenly attributes the article in question to The Citizen. The allegations surrounding the event were, however, contained in a report in the tabloid Daily Sun, and The Citizen’s story indeed fully credited the tabloid as the source of all these now-contested allegations.
At no point did The Citizen state that the Daily Sun article was accurate. We found out about it at the same time as the rest of South Africa, when we opened the newspaper on Tuesday morning.
However, the league has alleged that The Citizen is seeking to “undermine the President of the ANCWL” and is part of a “smear campaign to discredit her”.
It also alleges that the article in question reported that Dlamini was not able to stand. However, the story said no such thing, though it did say that according to the sources Daily Sun spoke to, Dlamini had been unsteady on her feet. We do not know if this is true, and have not claimed to know any of the facts in this matter.
We would recommend that the league contact Daily Sun if there is anything about the report that they would like to dispute.
In its statement, the ANCYL said it had “noted with disdain the article published by the Citizen that alledged that the President of the ANCWL, Cde Bathabile Dlamini, addressed the event in Germiston in drunken state on Friday. This article seeks to undermine the President of the ANCWL and is smear campaign to discredit her.
“The ANCWL condemns the reports published by the Citizen that the President could not stand during her address and had to address seated due to drunkeness. The article further alledged that Cde Bathabile’s address was off topic and spoke about the schools she attended and her childhood. All these allegations are lies, the President was sober, she was standing during her speech and she spoke on the challenges of the Young Women’s Desk, Education and Women and the Economy.
“As the ANCWL we call on the Citizen News Paper to be accountable for these defamatory allegations by retracting the article and apologise to the ANCWL President. The ANCWL has enough evidence to prove that the reports were lies, since the event was recorded. Should the Citizen fail to account on the allegations, the ANCWL will take up this issue with the Press Ombudsman.”
As The Citizen, we can unequivocally state that we have no interest in defending the article, since we cannot speak to the facts around it and have never claimed to be in a position to do so.
We are, however, also not sure if we are in a position to retract allegations contained in a newspaper unrelated to our company.