‘The despicable desperation of the persecution of Paul Mashatile’

Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa, Paul Mashatile. Picture: Phando Jikelo/Independent Newspapers

Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa, Paul Mashatile. Picture: Phando Jikelo/Independent Newspapers

Published Jun 11, 2024


By Masibongwe Sihlahla

In the realm of the South African body politic, all eyes are on News24 and its petty, malicious and vindictive coverage of Paul Mashatile, a key figure in the African National Congress (ANC) party right now in this moment in time with coalition talks actively taking place.

News24's relentless pursuit to hinder Mashatile's political aspirations to become the next president of the Republic has ignited debates about devious media ethics and the press's role in shaping public opinion or should I say poisoning the public opinion.

Paul Mashatile, a seasoned politician within the ANC, has long been seen as a potential and natural candidate for the presidency of South Africa given the tradition in the ANC.

With a rich political career and a history of holding significant leadership roles, Mashatile has garnered both support and scrutiny from different factions within the party but also because of his prominent and exceptional role in the United Democratic Front he has the endearment of large masses of the South African public akin to the adoration that JZ can command from the public in KZN.

News24's approach to covering Paul Mashatile has been marked by petty sensationalism and malicious bias, focusing on negative portrayals of this well respected South African political leader.

Many independent media pundits have criticised the publication for spreading unverified and well known false rumours and unsubstantiated insinuations in its execrable reporting, raising concerns about the accuracy and fairness of its coverage.

Although many have raised these concerns to News24 it appears that they do not care and the believe is there that they think that the means justifies the ends. Their objective is to see Paul Mashatile not ascending to the "throne" ie the presidency of South Africa by hook or by crook.

Paul Mashatile has always made it clear that BBEEE is and must be the legislative framework with which to transform the South African economy. As a very powerful figure in the ANC and enjoying the adoration and support from large masses of our people due to his role in the UDF Paul Mashatile is seen as a danger to the monied class which is not wrongly also called the deep state, in other words the unseen hands behind the facade of political leadership in South Africa.

South Africa is notorious as a country where political opponents are routinely killed, but in the case of Paul Mashatile the soft option is exercised first and that is the malicious campaigning to undermine his integrity and dignity in the public eye.

Their campaign have worked to such a degree that the ANC lost their majority and parliament and thus the monied classes have tasted blood and is going in for the kill figuratively speaking hoping to achieve the same successes in undermining Paul Mashatile as they did the ANC.

The motives behind News24's campaign against Paul Mashatile remain a topic of speculation in public circles but behind the scenes it is clear to those in the know that Paul Mashatile is committed to BBEEE and to take our people out of poverty of which the immiseration of blacks took place under apartheid at the time when the current owners and writes of News24 were all beneficiaries and defenders of apartheid.

Paul Mashatile represents a real danger to those unseen hands which control the South African economy as he is committed to ensure greater black control of the economy. You as a leader cannot uplift the black masses of this country if you do not control the means of production.

Paul Mashatile's sin in the eyes of the monied classes is the fact that he wants to remove control of the economy from the Stellenbosch elite and from the London elite.

It is amazing how many people are not aware that our economy is determined to a large degree by decisions taken in London.

Some pundits believe that the publication may have ulterior motives in preventing Mashatile from reaching the presidency, while other commentators view it as a strategic move to undermine political dynamics within the NEC of the ANC as Paul Mashatile commands strong respect.

The vicious targeted persecution of Paul Mashatile by News24 has sparked broader discussions about the media's role in shaping political narratives and influencing public opinion. This situation highlights the importance of responsible journalism practices and ethical reporting standards to maintain the integrity of the press.

It is ironic as I have said before that News24 especially Adriaan Basson are abusing the very rights of the constitution, rights that Paul Mashatile has fought for and nearly sacrificed his life for whilst Adrian Basson and his ilk denied freedom of expression to blacks under apartheid.

Today the oppression of blacks still take place but in a very sophisticated manner. What Adriaan Basson tells the public is that they are fighting corruption not unlike the devious lies of Benjamin Netanyahu in using self defence as a veil to carry out genocide of the Palestinian Christians and Muslims in Gaza and the West Bank.

In response to the controversial and malicious coverage of Paul Mashatile by News24, there have been a clarion call for the media outlet to adhere to ethical journalism principles such as fair reporting and the right to reply both which have been denied Paul Mashatile.

It is crucial for media organisations to remain objective, offer balanced perspectives, and avoid engaging in character assassination or bias as News24 delight in doing.

The case of News24's political persecution of Paul Mashatile serves as a reminder to us of the media's power and responsibility in the political arena as it can so easily lead to violence and racial animosity.

People like Adriaan Basson of News24 think they are busy with child’s play as they pursue their petty political endeavours but as I have said they are sowing the wind and may reap the whirlwind.

As South African coalition talks unfold, it prompts contemplation on the significance of fair and unbiased reporting in fostering a healthy democratic society. We do not need the benefit of time to reveal the lasting and malicious impact of these malicious and petty articles on both media integrity and South African politics as we have seen the effects so often in the past.

During April 1994 many articles appeared in Rwanda about the Tutsis being cockroaches and demonising them and we saw the outcome of that type of media campaign and yet News24 persists in taking our country into a downward spiral just to undermine Paul Mashatile.

The genocide only stopped when a powerful well respected leader of the Tutsis viz Paul Kagame seized power. Does News24 think like Bibi Netanyahu , first thousands must die before they stop their short-sighted campaign? For fifty years the National Party through apartheid kept South African economy backward which only benefited whites, does News24 wants to keep our economy still in the doldrums for another 20 years?

Paul Mashatile's only sin is the colour of his skin and his desire to see blacks gain economic freedom. When Adriaan Basson grew up he was taught to hate all Russians as they were all communists, the sad part is that he still thinks like that in spite of his tertiary education.

In similar fashion he still sees Paul Mashatile as some kind of black boogeyman from which all whites must be protected. I call upon him to contact Paul Mashatile and interview him and get the facts. It is second nature for Adriaan Basson to think a black man is a crook.

He need to take his apartheid coloured spectacles off and look at reality. If he wants I can put him into contact with hundreds of people whose lives Paul Mashatile have changed for the better.

* Masibongwe Sihlahla Independent Writer and Political Commentator REC member ANC Overberg WC

** The views expressed herein are not necessarily those of IOL or Independent Media.

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