EDITOR’S NOTE: The names of three local citizens have been redacted from this article. You can read a full explanation here for the decision of Grocott’s Mail’s Steering Committee to publish this My Say with redactions.
By AYANDA KOTA
Media is essential as it is a cornerstone of democracy. It helps to bring forth diverse views and promote healthy debate whilst at the same time; it should constantly act in the interests of the majority of citizens.
We must always guard and protect its freedom, so it is not eroded or attacked. The code of conduct of the Press Council requires the media to take care and report news truthfully, accurately and fairly.
Grocotts’ reporting on the Makana Citizens’ Front fails this test. Fast undoing its great legacy, Grocott’s is sadly fast becoming a peddler of fake news on matters MCF.
In Grocott’s recent story on last week’s Council meeting, they have again, guns blazing, attacked MCF councillors with no coherent reason based on facts. This concerns the recent MCF vote in support of extending the contract of the Municipal Manager for an additional three months whilst the proper recruitment process is enacted for his replacement. The story is factually incorrect and full of half information. The caricature and distortion are deliberate.
What the MCF did at the Council meeting
For this last Council meeting, the MCF received the agenda a day before the council meeting, and we had to spend hours going through it in our preparations. On the day of the council meeting, the DA moved for the council meeting not to sit; the MCF seconded this motion.
The MCF expressed dismay that the council agenda was disbursed less than 24 hours before the meeting. We supported this motion because it was genuine, not because it was from the Democratic Alliance (DA). We would have supported it even if it was from EFF or ANC. It is correctness and veracity that is always important and key, not some political gimmicks in which opposition parties excel.
The MCF councillors raised their dismay about several items on the agenda. None of this was covered at all in the Grocotts’ story.
On Unauthorised, Irregular, Fruitless and Wasteful Expenditure (UIFW), we asked the following questions:
- Expenditure on what?
- Who is responsible?
- What action has been taken to recover the money and stop it going forward?
- What impact has this had on service delivery?
We raised our concern about the state of water quality and that it is a disgrace that all our water treatment plants are dysfunctional in terms of the report. We asked, “What is the plan?”
On the Financial Recovery Plan, we asked if the first report was submitted and if the National Treasury has committed to offering support, especially financial support. We warned against the failure to provide financial support.
White racism is sickening and can only help to tap on the boiling black rage. Malcolm X teaches us to love and respect everyone irrespective of gender, creed or race. Malcolm X also teaches us that should those we love, and respect put their hands on us, we must send them to the grave. ‘Grave’ is used as a metaphor; it’s not used literally. It is formative writing.
MCF black councillors are enduring white racism from the conservative white community of Makhanda. After every council meeting, these councillors are subject to attacks by the likes of Person A*, Person B* and Person C* and many other hidden white supremacists who cover up for this through their record of liberal concern for the souls of black folk.
Malcolm X’s use of the grave metaphor is akin to Frantz Fanon’s use of violence, which is a recreation of man. Violence is necessary for a black person to recreate themself to confront racism. Violence is the cleansing of a society of white racism. White racism is an attack on the dignity of a black person. It is systemic and structural violence that gets legitimated by the pretences of professional editorialism and other such white liberal pretences. As the MCF, we will continue to challenge and expose this white supremacy and anti-majoritarian liberalism where Grocott’s pretends to take care to report news truthfully, accurately and fairly. ·
In the same Grocott’s, Philip Machanick takes a superior, dangerous position of white supremacy. He has read the Green Drop and Blue Drop water reports, both damning reports against the Makana Municipality regarding the state of water quality. Therefore, black working class councillors must not talk about it despite having the mandate of the black communities; only he can raise the matter. Black people who bear the brunt of the crisis do not matter to this devilish, racist, self-appointed and unaccountable guardian of our interests.
The inauguration of the current MCF councillors was legal
Another fallacy is the claim that the outgoing Municipal Manager unlawfully removed the previous MCF councillors who had undermined MCF democracy and falsely presented themselves as our councillors. If so, why has the Municipal Manager not been served with court papers by these pretenders? The current councillors were elected in terms of 18 of Schedule 1 of the Structures Act (Act No 117 of 1998). If the current Municipal Manager removed them, why have they failed to approach the court to interdict the move?
The MCF’s support for the extension of the Municipal Manager’s contract
The MCF seconded the three months extension of the contract of the Municipal Manager. The Chief Financial Officer has just been appointed. The Local Economic Development Director has just been appointed. Not extending the contract of the current Municipal Manager lacks logic and reasoning. We will create a huge vacuum in the most important municipal office, thereby worsening backlogs and opening the door for administrative bungles and for the hyenas to continue with corruption.
The MCF is perturbed by the three consecutively disclaimed Auditor-General’s reports. We put our hopes on the Financial Recovery Plan. We are not naïve; we know these municipalities are underfunded due to government austerity measures. We will be pressing hard on the National and Provincial Treasury to give financial support to realise this plan. The full recovery cost is a non-starter in our municipality. The community is not paying due to unemployment and hardship, and the businesses are struggling.
The MCF does not support DA politicking
We voted against the DA’s vote of no confidence motion against the speaker because it is just liberal politicking that plays into ANC infighting. Our presence in the council is not to be caught in the political infighting of the ruling party.
The response to Grocott’s Mail’s story and our critique of the Machanick ilk does not mean we are not open to criticism. But it must be fair and just, and constructive. It must be honest and critical. It must not be slander, gutter and full of malice and racist tone.
MCF councillors are not there to engage in sensational politics or gimmicks; we are there to contribute, to hold hands with everyone who shares the agenda of building Makana. We will continue with our principled programme based on the mobilisation of and accountability to ordinary people through mass meetings, door-to-door work and campaigns to build the power of our people.
*Note: The names of Person A, Person B and Person C have been redacted from this article following defamation laws and the SA Press Code.