Daily Maverick

Op-Ed: A Dlamini Zuma victory will repudiate the establishment’s news media bias

It is becoming clear every single day that a victory for Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma at the ANC December Conference will not only represent a victory of ANC branches over all external influences and sideshows, but will be a repudiation of the establishment news media and its media malpractice. By JESSIE DUARTE, SEFORA (SISI) NTOMBELA, NOMVULA MOKONYANE AND MEOKGO MATUBA.

Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma supporters are derided every day for claiming that the media is an active player in the road towards the ANC December conference, and which places an unreasonable amount of time in discrediting and working against her and her campaign. This is becoming evident every day. Her victory at the conference will clearly upset a few ANC branches and members, but that’s in the realm of party democracy; however, it will highly antagonise the politico-media complex, who have all but called for defeat come December 2017.

Dlamini Zuma is facing an unfair amount of negative press and daily she is painted as unintelligent (despite being a medical doctor), a Zuma proxy (despite having had an independent and very successful career without her ex husband), corrupt (this has always been seen as the easiest way to crush a black person’s credibility), anti-male and just about every other negative tendency.

Like all black women, Dlamini Zuma’s contributions to our country have gone largely unrecognised and unrewarded. She is facing the double burden of being black and a woman.

Like all women who have risen to the heights of leadership that she has reached, she has had to fight all manner of ignorance and prejudice, daily punching a crack in the stubborn ceiling that still keeps many women on the outside looking in. Despite all these battles, however, Dlamini Zuma can’t have thought that she would one day face the whole country’s media establishment.

Dlamini Zuma’s womanness and the circle of both men and women who surround her have been fodder for many ignorant trolls who still find it easy to make judgements on a woman’s capacity or independence just by the people next to her, even if she in fact is fiercely independent and hardly takes their advice without cause.

Yes, experts have told us that when women want to collaborate, especially with powerful men, they are seen as weak, as ceding their power to men.

Experts have told us that when women seek advice, they are seen to be incapable; why don’t they know everything and do everything. We have been told that when women do in fact choose to do it all by themselves then they are accused of hating males, of trying to prove that they are better than men.

Dlamini Zuma has gone through it all over the last few months, and more.

Yes, being close to Zuma these days is a licence to be disrespected and hated. This is the foundation of all the exaggerated negative press.

In what can only be media malpractice, journalist (and author) Jacques Pauw wrote an article for the Sunday Times about an explosive revelation of Dlamini Zuma’s dirty dealings with self-confessed cigarette smugglers, fraudsters and money launderers. This expose is contained in a sensational new book published on Sunday. All good so far. So who is the author of this book with such explosive revelations? It turns out, it’s Jacques Pauw himself. This is not only bizarre but bordering on misleading and fraudulent.

Jacques Pauw writes an article in the third person about a sensational book that reveals shocking information about Dlamini Zuma, but the same writer who is praising the book for its revelatory work is actually the author of the very book. This is like a judge giving a harsh sentence based on a precedent-setting case of two years ago. When you check that precedence case, it was by the same judge.

The book is published on Sunday, the article is written on Sunday, ensuring that no time is given to independent critics to review the book, to double-check its sources, and to verify its authenticity. The author has already pretended to be a third party praising his own work, ensuring that by the time real independent critics decode the book the damage has already been done. You cannot be your own book reviewer, showering yourself with all sorts of praise for your work. This is not mere self-aggrandisement but a misleading exercise with grave consequences for others. It is also an abuse of media for vindictive purposes.

The article and book claims that Adriano Mazzotti has emerged as a contributor to Dlamini Zuma’s campaign to be the next ANC president at the December conference.

Pauw then argues from that conclusion backwards through a conspiracy theory that takes him through the corridors of SARS, looking for who got hired, who got fired, for what reason, and then making conclusions about who might be there to protect President Zuma, almost as if Pauw has been taking late-night walks trying to put the dots together and it finally hits him, the reason for all these problems and why they have stayed under the radar is actually Tom Moyane who was appointed by President Zuma to do just that.

One wonders, if KPMG had not reneged on their report, whether this book would have come out, because it would have been immediately discredited by a credible investigation from a highly reputable firm. There is of course still a huge question as to whether the KPMG report is in fact erroneous and exactly what is erroneous about it.

Pauw has not given the country an opportunity to review his book and make our own conclusions about the guilt of others; he has chosen to be writer and critic of his own work and gone further to be a prison guard to ensure Dlamini Zuma is forever trapped in the prison of corruption and suspicion.

It is now up to ANC branches to break her out of that entrapment and to repudiate the politico-media complex in its quest to choose for the ANC and country who its president should be. DM

Photo: Former Minister of Foreign Affairs and AU Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma addressing the mourners at the memorial service of Ronnie Mamoepa held at Tshwane Events Centre in Pretoria. 27/07/2017 Kopano Tlape GCIS

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