Proudly Pro-Govt: Week In, Week Out

A word or two toGangster’ author

WE are The Weekly newspaper, a wholly black owned and progressive media entity owned by Letlaka Group and operating from the Free State capital of Mangaung, the province of Siwelele Sa Masele and the proud Basotho people, Afrikaners and a sprinkle of coloureds.

This province, at the heart of South Africa and linking three provinces, is also the birthplace of the African National Congress (ANC), the governing party since the advent of the democratic dispensation following the watershed elections in 1994.

We have taken note of a recently published book titled ‘Gangster State’ by journalist Mr Pieter Louis-Myburgh. We wish to inform you, Louis-Myburgh that for having had the decency to use the name of our publication and publisher’s name, Mr Tumi Ntsele, in your off the mark book without affording us the right to reply, that The Weekly will never be dictated upon nor be bullied into abandoning its conscious and deliberate decision to adopt a newsroom editorial policy setting us apart from the rest.

The only logical explanation why you did not bother to seek comment from us regarding your allegations is that you knew this would water down or dismiss your ‘scoop’ outright. Had you taken an extra initiative, we would have gladly responded to your queries as we have nothing to hide.

We are a Good News publication, and in as far as the development of the formerly marginalised black and African majority is concerned, informing of the positive work government is doing or is planning is paramount to us. This however does not mean we turn a blind to any wrong doing by government.

Our editorial policy is to report on the strides and advancements being made by government and those entrusted with authority in shaping the destiny of the poorest of the poor, of which we are part.

In reporting on so called controversial matters, we do our best to have balanced reporting, minimise unintended harm and be truthful and objective by using secret sources only in extreme cases where tangible evidence exists.

We tell you all this, Mr Gangster Author, for you to appreciate that without a shred of tangible evidence, you proceeded to tarnish our publication’s standing by stating in your book that The Weekly became the largest financial beneficiary of The Capture of the Fourth Estate (Media) in the province. In any case, there is nothing sinful or criminal about getting government adverts and receiving payment for the service.

Furthermore you accuse The Weekly of being the mouthpiece and songbird of Magashule.

On the first main charge you level about financial gain, I found nowhere in your book where current or former authority confirms same, or even a former or current employee of Letlaka Group dealing in finance.

More surprisingly is the fact that you mention amounts and figures as if you possess bank records or supporting documentation when in fact you have none.

On the second charge of singing dancing to Magashule’s music, The Weekly might appear guilty as charged.

This is because if you knew half the man you wrote about you and not done it driven by sadistic intent you would have observed that he is natural news maker, and not only you find him interesting.

According to his ‘songbird’s knowledge of him, if Ace is not out in the streets touching and changing lives, he would be in legislatures giving opposition politicians a tough time.

Now as a media house operating in this province, we are indeed short of Solomonic wisdom on how Myburg would have loved us to treat the former Premier.

Dear Gangster Author, the man is a workaholic of note that spends days on the road dismantling old houses and building new ones, unveiling new schools and clinics, visiting Free State students studying abroad.

The busy atmosphere he created launching the Free State Flower Festival, the Free State Trade Expo, building homes for military veterans, tackling gangsterism and hearing the people out, that’s the Magashule the media here, at least black media, knows.

In your haste to label The Weekly gutter and appease whoever benefits from your malice, you claim your six years investigation into the paper made you conclude that we are propaganda machinery.

This is more distasteful since such a conclusion can only be reached after interviewing staff or former employees of the publication on their editorial experience, or alternatively sitting in during our diary meetings to determine the analysis we use for identifying priority stories for our particular market and to service our readership.

While you speak of The Weekly as having come through for Magashule leading up to the Polokwane ANC conference in 2007, and  rubbishing the publication of a story on a “Plot to Kill Magashule in 2011” – you conveniently ignore your own shabby investigative shortcoming to claim the story was ‘wafer thin’ and lacked concrete evidence that a plot existed.

Perhaps as thee journalist of the moment you are privy to plots of  killing people laid bare to you, and assassins give you “concrete’ evidence on when, how and by whom the killing will be carried out.

Indeed Mr Gangster Author, our editorial policy serves a particular agenda.

And it is agenda to do everything in our power to demystify news, thwart misinformation and defend the revolution as it manifested itself post 1994.

We further wish to save journalism from clutches of unpatriotic and outright enemies of the state and rest it with activist media out to boost morale and share stories of growth and development.

Needless to say, we resist attempts to subject us to the Eurocentric view of our country, choosing to tell our stories through the eyes of an African.

Far from insinuations carried in your book, carrying vague testimonies sourced from mainly disgruntled members of the ANC in the Free, a specially chosen core of individuals with a supposed score to settle with the current SG, The Weekly has reported on more than enough heads of government, ministers, mayors and councillors in the province including some of those who acted as your faceless sources.

So Mr Myburg, we agree to disagree, at least admit that social upbringing and different backgrounds render us different.

More so when faced with a decision between saving dolphins at sea and going to fix my leaking roof in anticipation of the approaching storm, poor and rich kind of thing…