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Joining the Independent Newspapers dots

11th October 2019 By Paul Hoffman (BizNews)

The hysterical reaction of Iqbal Survé to the service of a search and seizure warrant on him provides vivid evidence of his affliction with foot in mouth disease. Not only does he reveal, perhaps inadvertently, that editorial independence is non-existent in his empire with the « my reporters » are about to dish the dirt on CR and PG response, he also ought to know that bleating about the propriety of the warrant is best dealt with in an application to court rather than by publishing defamatory innuendos about the judge who authorised the warrant.

He has also unintentionally provided confirmation of his and his tightly controlled newspaper group’s anti-Ramaphosa bias by foreshadowing what «his» reporters and editors have in mind for the coming weekend. Small wonder that the circulation of the titles in the group is an ever shrinking one.

Back in August inl.co.za and some of the hard copy newspapers in the group published an interview purportedly given to Bongani Hans, one of Surve’s reporters, by former KZN MEC Meshack Radebe of the ANC. A lurid tale of bribery and corruption to which Radebe was an eye-witness in the foyer of a Johannesburg hotel at which some of the ANC Nasrec conference delegates were accommodated is contained in the report, a summary of which can be accessed on the Accountability Now website. Respectable publications were not prepared to publish the commentary on the report penned by this humble scribe for fear of the report being unreliable. The report was however carried by the Legalbrief Today newsletter, a serious publication not given to repeating nonsense.

After careful pondering, criminal charges were laid and the report by Hans was made available to the SAPS, the Hawks, the Investigative Directorate of the NPA and to the Zondo Commission. Unsurprisingly, a senior Zondo investigator was the first to interview Radebe, who denied having said the words put in his mouth by Hans. In these circumstances there can be no mistake, either the report is false or it is not. In order to find out where the truth lies the following letter was written to Hans: Subject:Re: Your interview with Meshack RadebeDear Mr Hans,1. In August inl.co.za published your report of the interview Meshack Radebe gave you.2. As the report contains direct evidence of corruption by a current cabinet minister and others in the buying of votes in the foyer of the hotel at which ANC Nasrec conference delegates stayed in December 2017, we reported the matter to the police, the Hawks, the ID of the NPA and to the Zondo Commission.3. Upon being interviewed by a senior investigator, Radebe denies have said the words you attribute to him in your report of the interview.4. Do you have a recordIng of any kind of the interview?5. Do you have an explanation for Radebe’s denial of the veracity of your report of the interview?6. You will appreciate that the denial by Radebe brings your ethics and the propriety of your report as published into question. The report may possibly amount to the peddling of disinformation for the purposes of factional infighting in the ANC to which you are an unwitting party. As a former MEC in KZN, Radebe is (or was, if he has really resigned) a senior member of the ANC who ought to be above lying to and misleading a journalist.7. We consider that you are entitled to an opportunity to explain Radebe’s denial, which is why this email is being addressed to you. Your report may have to be retracted or corrected, or, the falsehood of the denial by Radebe may have to be exposed.8. If we do not hear from you by noon on Friday we reserve our right to take the matter further with the appropriate authorities without further notice to you.Yours in accountabilityPaul HoffmanAccountability Now

The failure of Mr Hans to respond to the emailed letter in any way shape or form before the expiry of the deadline set in it speaks volumes. His failure is entirely congruent with Survé’s stated intention to dish dirt against the Ramaphosa led faction of the ANC during the course of the weekend of 12 and 13 October and reflects poorly on the ethical standards of one of those he refers to as «my reporters».

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