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Former deputy minister of economic development, Enoch Godongwana, allegedly misled the Canyon Springs Investments 12 insolvency inquiry while giving evidence last year when he failed to disclose that he had received money from companies belonging to Richard Kawie, who has been charged with fraud in the scandal over the misappropriation of clothing factory workers’ pension fund cash.

Godongwana ‘lied to inquiry’ Mail & Guardian 3/2/2012

An angry Brian Molefe, Transnet’s CEO, earlier made it clear to City Press’ sister paper Rapport that the plight of the pensioners did not concern him because they are “beneficiaries of apartheid”.

A total of 33% of the pensioners are black.

Transnet faces biggest class action in SA history over stripping of pension fund assets City Press  20/7/2014

The ANC’s illegally-deployed cadres, ever-focused on self-enrichment, have always seen pension funds as the sweetest of low-hanging fruit, yet it is difficult to contemplate anything more evil than the old and infirm being denied, in the twilight of their lives, their pension fund contributions after a lifetime of sweat and toil.

It’s all in a day’s work, though, for the African National Congress, a criminal enterprise masquerading as a political party.

Moneyweb has justifiably described the way that the Transnet pensioners have been impoverished and immiserated on the watch of the African National Congress as macabre.

They are hardly alone as the anchor quote reference to Enoch Godongwana testifies.

Loot-fully-and-freely House, using its normal due diligence procedures, felt however that the expertise acquired by Godongwana in the nefarious Canyon Springs scam – which saw millions of rands in  textile worker pension funds simply disappear – should not be wasted and it duly appointed him head of its Economic Transformation Commission. Then, as an encore, Loot-freely House appointed Tony Yengeni as chair of its working group on crime and corruption.

You couldn’t make this reverse-Midas stuff up – ask Mike Mabuyakhulu, recently appointed deputy chairperson of the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal because of his renown as a music festival organiser or Pumlani Mkolo  who was re-elected unopposed as the ANC’s regional secretary in the Eastern Cape because of his deep love for Madiba which saw millions being snouted in the Mandela funeral scam.

Better still, ask Brian Hlongwa and Qedani Mahlangu and, if you can find a better definition of obscene National Democratic Revolution evil,  I’d like to hear about it.

The re-election of Mahlangu to the ANC Provincial Executive Committee in Gauteng was a sordid act of betrayal, extraordinary by even the ANC’s standard of pervasive corruption but, as always, it’s about the trough.

Attempts by the ANC’s deployed cadres to deprive pensioners of what is rightfully theirs do not always go according to plan however.  Ask me – as an SABC pensioner, I’ll tell you.

Class-action suit

In 2004, a year before I asked for early retirement without other employment in prospect from what the ANC had reduced to a state broadcaster bedevilled by pervasive ANC-linked corruption and news bias, 93 white SABC pensioners brought a successful class-action suit against the ANC’s broadcast propaganda arm which had unilaterally tried to deprive them of their pension rights.

Devoid, as always of shame and grace and compassion, the ANC’s deployed parasites at the SABC were described by the presiding judge as “distasteful, unacceptable and dishonest”. Their inevitable and routine knee-jerk and by-rote playing-of-the-race- card ANC response was dismissed from the bench as “totally scandalous and libellous”.

For all of the above reasons we must welcome the initiative by Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene to investigate the continuing scandals at the Public Investment Corporation and his instruction to its board to conduct a forensic investigation into CEO Dan Matjila and chief financial officer Matshepo More.

In addition to the role played by the PIC on the watch of Dan Matjila in the implosion of VBS Mutual Bank, two of the loans approved by him have a distinct political taint – something which should be anathema when dealing with the supposedly sacrosanct stop-order pension fund contributions of the country’s civil servants.

While the loss  to the Government Employee Pension Fund as a result of the politically-motivated  Erin Energy loan is quantifiable at R4 billion, the reputational damage to the country as a result of the venomous Sekunjalo Independent Media campaign against the University of Cape Town and its former Vice Chancellor Dr Max Price – articulated by Jonathan Jansen and UCT honours student Ricky Stoch and featured in The Economist – is incalculable.

UCT vice-chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng says that the RMF/FMF protests could well have played a contributory role in the recent suicide of Professor Bongani Mayosi, UCT health dean and world-class cardiology researcher:

‘Phakeng said UCT had seen a rise in mental health issues, not only among students but among staff, who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the #FeesMustFall protests.’

The support and encouragement that Dr Iqbal Survé and his newspaper the Cape Times provided to the RMF students – whose destructive behaviour was described by Jonathan Jansen as fascist – was made possible by an initially-clandestine loan of R1 billion from the PIC to Sekunjalo Independent Media at the behest of Dr Dan Matjila.

Ironically, however, the African National Congress also experienced an adverse impact as a result of Matjila’s political decision to invest the R1 billion in an industry which was manifestly dying – a decision which was not intended to benefit civil servant pensioners but was intended to place the largest group of English newspapers in the country under the control of a self-acknowledged ANC acolyte and confidante/business associate of the clandestine ANC funder, the late Brett Kebble.

Campaign of support

As R W Johnson observes, the Cape Times campaign of support for the immensely destructive  and murderous RMF anarchists had a fairly ironic outcome for the ANC:

“Thus Iqbal Surve’s Cape Times deliberately fomented the original Rhodes Must Fall movement as a way of embarrassing DA-led Cape Town but this quickly transmuted into Fees Must Fall, clearly targeted against government, and then into Zuma Must Fall.”

A second factor that created problems for the ANC was that, right from the start, Iqbal Survé threw his weight behind the plundering Zuma faction of the ANC.

He appointed Karima Brown and Vukani Mde after they wrote an article in defence of Jacob Zuma, attempted to link up with Zuma’s  financiers, the Guptas and, thereafter, he threw his weight  and the weight of his newspapers behind Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma. The Sekunjalo agenda to undermine the CR17 campaign included a scurrilous front page lead in the Sunday Independent on 3 September 2017 which depicted Cyril Ramaphosa as an adulterous blesser who exploited financially-constrained women students to sate his sexual lusts.

No evidence was produced to substantiate this appalling abuse of media power and influence – no more appalling, though, than the Fake News campaign by the Cape Times against Chad de Matos who ended up in Pollsmoor Prison because he was white and a UCT student and not because he had committed any crime, or the Fake News attempt by the same newspaper to suggest that Western Cape wine farmers were  deliberately causing pervasive foetal alcohol syndrome among the children of their employees, or the Fake News campaign about Helen Zille have appointed a ‘spook with a grabber’, or the Fake News article alleging that the Democratic Alliance had criticised a judge in connection with a human rights case when, in fact, it was on the record for praising him. No action has ever been taken by Iqbal Survé to counter or end these unprecedented and continuing attempts to mislead the readers of the of the Cape Times  either through outright lies or through censorship by omission and one has to ask why.

Given the fact that:

… the interest rate return on the billion rand lent by Matjila to Sekunjalo Independent Media  to place its newspapers under Zuma –faction ANC control seems likely to be minimal and of very little benefit to the civil service pensioners who are financially dependent on the Government Employees Pension Fund.

The PIC is belatedly trying to extricate itself from Matjila’s mendacious Sekunjalo Independent Media folly but the ANC is, unsurprisingly, withholding the details of this process from the country’s citizens in contravention of the human rights provisions of the Constitution.

That is why the decision by trade union Solidarity to serve court papers on the PIC to obtain such details is so important and is to be welcomed.

As one of the anchor quotes indicates, Brian Molefe was at the heart of the evisceration of the Transnet Pension Fund before moving on to more lucrative State Capture Projects – but was the moral delinquency of Dr Dan Matjila in investing a billion rand in the purchase of the Indy newspapers, a political investment which, manifestly, was never going to get a satisfactory return – any different in principle?

Ethical journalism abandoned

Under Iqbal Survé, ethical journalism at the Indy newspapers was abandoned from the moment of the Sekunjalo takeover and a recent example emphasises the point.

Here’s a quote from City Press on 29 June:

“Every day since Wednesday last week newspapers belonging to the Independent Group have featured fawning pictures of their self-loving owner and chairperson Iqbal Survé or aggrandising articles about him bringing joy and prosperity to the world. Mandela Day was about him. The Brics Media Forum was about him. The main Brics summit was about him. At the rate they were going, many expected his newspapers to carry pictures of him eclipsing the eclipse.”

This self-promotion contravenes the SA Press Council Code of ethical conduct for newspapers:

2.1. The media shall not allow commercial, political, personal or other non-professional considerations to influence or slant reporting.

Faced with such strictures, Survé was quick to follow the lead of the Guptas and to remove the Indy newspapers from the ethical accountability which the SA Press Council requires of its members.

In April this year, SANEF, the South African National Editors Forum, strongly condemned Sekunjalo Independent Media for its unjustified and intemperate attack on three of the country’s most respected journalists. Such attacks have become routine since the Sekunjalo takeover. It is now beyond dispute that Matjila’s politically motivated billion-rand loan to Iqbal Survé  – with its echoes of the National Party funding of The Citizen – has resulted in immense structural and reputational harm to the Fourth Estate in this country.

For all of these reasons, Matjila should do the honourable thing and resign.

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Ed Herbst started his news career as a photographer with the Natal Witness in 1968 but quickly switched to reporting while retaining an interest in photography. He joined the SABC in its Pretoria news office as a camera reporter in 1977, one year after television was introduced in South Africa. In 1978 he was seconded to the SABC’s Windhoek office for six months to cover the run-up to the country’s UN-monitored election and was then posted to the SABC’s Sea Point news office. He asked for early retirement in 2005 because of pervasive SABC corruption, news censorship and unaddressed abusive treatment of staff. From 2007 to 2009 he was employed as a consultant in the media department of the Cape Town municipality but became a pensioner when personal circumstances forced him to retire. He now writes without remuneration for local websites about the interface between media and politics. He is writing a book on media capture after 1994.