IT must be tough being the former editor of the Cape Times, and the first female to have occupied the once all male position. Dasnois was removed from her post as Cape Times editor on the weekend of 6 December 2013 having climbed the ladder to editorship in 2009 after her appointment as deputy editor in 2007. Thus she cannot complain if we raise some of the problems with the Cape Times under its former owners during her period of tenure.
The Mulroney Scandal
Admittedly this scandal first broke news in 2001. After a ten year battle by The Fifth Estate, one of Canada’s leading investigative journalism teams, the official inquiry into the affairs of INM director Brian Mulroney for his improper relationship to German arms-dealer Karl-Heinz Schrieber was well under way in 2007. The inquiry occured amidst allegations that Mulroney had received bribes and had unlawfully benefited from a major deal involving Airbus and Air Canada. Instead of covering the Mulroney Scandal, Dasnois chose to ignore such prickly problems — refusing to acknowledge the uncomfortable indictment of an O’Reilly director by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Stories like “Mulroney tried to cover up cash payments he received in hotel rooms: Schreiber” were thus nowhere to be found in South Africa’s leading daily as Dasnois sort to protect the Irish stake in South Africa’s media by covering up for her boss.
The Robbie Jansen Scandal
In 2006 I was frog-marched out of the news-room of a community newspaper by a right-wing Afrikaner who had taken exception amongst other things, to my association with the late jazz-musician Robbie Jansen. Not only did the Cape Times publish an erroneous and factually incorrect news snippet detailing proceedings at the CCMA, but Independent were subsequently forced, under sanction of the Internet Service Providers Association, to take the piece down. Later when the matter came up for review before the Labour Court of South Africa, I was assisted by the secretary of CONSAWU and the National Certified Fishing and Allied Workers Union (NCFAWU), Envor Barros. Alide Dasnois who was by this stage editor of the Cape Times cannot claim she was not unaware of the labour matter affecting media workers, instead she chose in a cynical and high-handed manner, one which she will not doubt live to regret, to bury the case. The lack of media coverage and press oversight resulted in an inevitable mistrial with allegations of corruption which are now under investigation by the South African Human Rights Commission, the matter has also been referred to the public protector.
It would seem that hypocrisy is the order of the day so far as Dasnois is concerned. Her vapid and unsubstantiated attacks against Sekunjalo should be seen within the context of a career in which she actively participated in the censorship of material relevant to the day-to-day functioning of the media industry and the livelihood of workers. That she failed to put Madiba on the cover of the Cape Times the day after he died, is merely one of a litany of errors, which include her refusal to provide balance to the Sekunjalo Marine story, a real storm in a departmental teacup so far as the Public Protector is concerned, and this at the same time that she was colluding in the suppression of community jazz reportage and supporting the apartheid denial which is rampant at another media group head-quartered in slightly larger premises than the current Newspaper house — this is the apartheid company which refused to participate in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, stationed on Cape Town’s foreshore.