Dr Iqbal Survé’s front-page response in The Star to the Sunday Times’ admission of wrongdoing with regards to incorrect reports about various topics published between 2011 and 2015 has dominated public discourse for days on end.
In his op-ed, Survé accused the Business Day of hypocrisy, media manipulation, and subtle racism which manifested itself as an overt bias in favour of “white-owned companies” among other things.
While many have praised the contents of Survé’s front-page response, there have been detractors of the points he made and none have been more vocal than Western Cape premier Helen Zille.
In a column published on the Daily Maverick website, Zille tears into Siqoko and Survé.
She does, however, commend Siqoko for starting the conversation on what she has called “planted falsehoods” and she highlights the role she believes the ANC played in peddling them.
Zille lists her history as “both a journalist and target of various scandal manufacturers” as the primary reason for her piqued interest in this conversation and the public’s reaction to the revelations.
Unlike her commendation of Siqoko’s apology, Zille shows no sympathy for Survé whom she described as “the man who put news manipulation on steroids when he bought Independent Newspapers” and “gave new meaning to the ‘pot-and-kettle’ homily in his front-page response to the Sunday Times”.
Zille went on to accuse Survé and Independent Media of doing the very thing they accuse Tiso Blackstar of doing citing a Cape Times story about the Western Cape education law amendment bill which Independent Media calls the “booze-at-school bill”.
The bill has been the focus of many a discussion on talk radio and social media as it has led the public to believe the bill is intended to allow for the sale of alcohol in schools to students during school hours.
This is not the case and in her column, Zille blames Independent Media for not clarifying this.
“Any rational person who has read the Independent Newspapers coverage of the Bill would be excused for believing that we intend [on] selling alcohol at tuck shops during break,” writes Zille.
She goes on to explain how the bill is aimed at curbing the current widespread availability of alcohol on school premises during after-hours events by ensuring control of its distribution is placed in the hands of a select few.
Zille also accused the ANC government of working in conjunction with Independent Media to discredit the premise of the bill.
She ends her column off by theorising why they would do this stating that they wish to stop the introduction of “proper accountability mechanisms in the public school system”.