Motale says that his predecessor openly campaigned for the South African official opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA).
“In the new South Africa, the editors that took over specifically my predecessor did not do the paper well, by openly turning it into a mouthpiece of the official opposition which is the DA,” said Motale.
“When Martin Williams retired, and immediately became a DA councillor, in the interest of transparency, I insisted here at The Citizen that that story must be published. Nobody from the mainstream media picked it up. Juxtapose that with the condemnation that Vukani Mde and Karima Brown got when they appeared in ANC colours at an ANC function … that to me is hypocrisy of the worst kind.”
The editor said that, although he had to do a lot of thinking before publishing the article, he couldn’t “think of any other best way of dealing with this except for coming out in the open and telling the public the honest truth.”
Motale added: “I must be honest with you … it is difficult to extract an apology from any editor. It was not something that I took lightly. I did a lot of soul searching in the past few weeks, and I decided you know what … there’s a lot of weight on my shoulders … let me bury these thing once and for all.”
With some accusing Motale of fighting ANC battles, Motale reiterated that he’s not Zuma’s fan, but that he just wanted “to tell the truth”.
“I’m not a Jacob Zuma fan, but I feel I have treated him unfairly. It’s not an article to say Zuma is a saint. No, that’s not the idea. I’ve made it clear in that very same article that there are quite number of issues,” said the editor.
“It has been, when I’m always writing, focusing negatively on this guy, so as maybe to bring him down. If there’s any legacy I’d like to leave behind here, is a paper that is credible, that is objective … that reports fairly without fear or favour,” he argued.
Motale also commended the New Age newspaper for making clear its agenda when it launched.
“Look, I’m not praise-singing for the New Age. I salute them because even before they were launched, these are the guys who said that this is a particular agenda that we’ll be pursuing.”
A caller who goes by the name of Zingy said the editor “speaks like somebody who has been recruited by the ANC to fight their battles.”
Motale’s response was: “Zingy, I can rest assure you now. I haven’t been recruited by the ANC to fight their battles. The ANC is the ruling party. It is the custodian of the public purse. They’ve got all the resources to fight their own battles.”
Ismael, another caller, said: “It’s unfortunate the editor of The Citizen is confusing his own perception with the perception of the country as a whole of the ANC.”
Sbu said: “it’s obvious media in this country is still owned by white people. You’ve got all these media houses, Naspers, and all of them. They are so anti this country, they are so anti this government. All these media houses are anti ANC.”
Listen to the whole interview here: