Naspers “half-apology” ignores decade-long battle for justice and contrition


FOR TWO decades, South Africa’s largest media group, avoided responsibility for apartheid, deflected newsroom criticism, gagged journalists and engaged in a dirty-tricks cover-up which would result in a massive courtroom fraud. The group, which includes Media24 and Multichoice now faces questions regarding its role in corruption at the Cape Bar.

South Africa’s constitution requires that we “recognise the injustices of our past”. It would be considered a national crisis bordering upon sedition if the preamble were removed, or if references to apartheid and the freedom struggle were excluded from national legislation.

But this is exactly what a judgement, issued by the Labour Court of South Africa during 2010 accomplished, thanks to the skillfull manipulation and fabrication of evidence by Kahanovitz SC, aided and abetted by a disgraced businessman,the international labour broker and erstwhile drafter of South Africa’s “labour relations act”,  one Michael Halton Cheadle.

Both stand accused of colluding to defeat the ends of justice.

During proceedings, not only was the TRC report trashed, but the court under an acting justice took such a warped and contrarian view of the facts, that it created a new form of anti-morality, in which support for apartheid is considered the gold standard, and opposition to the institution of race segregation, in particular its aftermath following 1994, grounds for questioning ones credibility.

“His evidence is unreliable because he is engaged in a campaign against the Respondent for its support of apartheid and its refusal to apologise for doing so before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. That is clear from his pleadings, the documents he compiled, the evidence he gave and the emotion with which he displayed in conducting his case. This is what drove him and the evidence of his personal engagement with the Respondent was shaped to advance this campaign. His evidence was tendentious.”

Apartheid is neither a tendency, nor is it an accident of history — the defence used by Media24 sole witness, Annelien Dean, has its origin in the apartheid heresy issued by the NGK, used to support an unscientific, racist ideology. During proceedings, Dean managed to convince Cheadle, obviously awestruck by the shareprice of his client and business associates, that her views on race profiling and a “racialised past” were also granted succour by the Catholic Church, an institution of which she claimed to be a member.

Race segregation is not and has never been, a teaching of the Catholic Church.

Neither the modern NGK nor any other branch of mainstream Christianity believes that apartheid is natural or the work of divine inspiration, and trying to make a fuss about the respondent’s affiliation, as if her reference to Die Dominee, and her contradictory statements in this regard somehow make her a credible witness, merely increases the pain of what is blatantly obvious in the judgement.

It can only be considered lawful if you think apartheid was lawful.

Instead of justice,  my views as a secular humanist, journalist and opponent of racism, were twisted, and turned into an attack on Christianity and religion in general. According to Cheadle, I was the one at fault for not adhering to a strict and literal interpretation of the Torah —  the Old Testament.

9 years ago on 29 August 2006 the Freedom of Expression Institute was moved to defend my rights after a threat of gagging by the self-same company Media24

Back then, Na’eem Jeenah and Simon Delaney wrote: “It is extremely disconcerting ….that Media24 has chosen to resort to threats …  in order to silence a journalist and, in so doing, is undermining a value and right that it should be protecting and defending.””We are of the opinion that companies and other non-natural persons cannot be defamed under the law. As such, your accusation against Mr Lewis is clearly meant simply to intimidate him into self-censorship.”

“We encourage you to spare yourselves the embarrassment of being viewed as a media institution that wants to subvert freedom of expression”.

As to how an outcome which demonstrably contradicts the truth, overturns constitutional values such as press freedom and freedom of religion, (which is also the right to freedom from religious rule), would be possible under a secular dispensation is anyone’s guess.

Kahanovitz currently faces disbarment proceedings for his role in perpetrating a gross fraud upon the court and for his statements with regard to the TRC Report, in a complaint acknowledged on 17 July 2015 by Paul Farlam, disciplinary officer for the Cape Bar Council.

Dean as sole witness, faces ongoing accusations of perjury for her role in explaining away race profiling and race segregation at Media24s WP Koerante, community newspapers division as nothing more than a “coincidence of homogeneity”.

Yes, you read that right, apartheid was merely an accident of nature, tell us another whopper, like the one about Robbie Jansen and Jimmy Dludlu?

That she repeatedly lied about what had occurred in the newsroom during 2006 is clear, her false accusations of plagiarism made the lies about her background seem trivial. She even hoodwinked the court, telling all and sundry, that she had never been “anywhere near Bloemfontein”, which would make her matric certificate issued by Brebner High School, a fraud.

What more can one say about a judgement that insists that I worked at Die Burger?

I do not write in Afrikaans.

Cheadle’s fall from grace, caused in part by the exposé of his corrupting role in a labour and financial services empire has already been covered here.

The 18 June 2015 announcement by the Vice Chancellor of the University of Cape Town that the law professor was moving into post-dated early retirement, since 31st December 2014, thus came as no surprise. Perhaps a shock and wakeup call to his supporters, those who chose to overlook the compromised role played by the Resolve Group and its corrupting influence upon the judiciary, detailed in submissions to the Judicial Services Commission, Cape Law Society and Directorate of National Prosecutions.

With friends in high places, it was easy for him to simply pull strings, and so one week later on 24 June 2015, NPA were issuing statements declining to prosecute, but the point about Cheadle’s corruption had been made, and the decision by the Western Cape still stands for review. (I am in the process of preparing an Affidavit consolidating several annexures in the investigation into corruption).

On 23 July 2015, a case (EC19/2015) detailing the failure of the Minister of Justice to uphold the terms and outcome of the TRC was filed by myself against the Minister, with Naspers as second respondent.

Two days later Naspers were suddenly issuing an apology. Doing something “it should have done 19 years ago – apologise for the role it played during apartheid.” as commentator Sibusiso Tshabalala  put it.

“While the apology, delivered by Media24 CEO Esmaré Weideman, took many by surprise, it did little to shed light on how Naspers – now Africa’s largest media company with a market value of over $61bn (R779bn) – was complicit in the actions of South Africa’s apartheid government during the time.””After all, Naspers, when given the chance to come clean during South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in 1996, refused to give a public account of just how deep its collaboration ran with the apartheid government.”

“Is silence from that quarter to be construed as consent, conceding that it was a sycophantic handmaiden of the apartheid government?” Tutu asked.

Similarly, in regard to my own plight and the case before the Equality Court, is silence from the media to be construed as support for apartheid newsroom censorship?

Is silence from the media to be construed as support for race profiling and apartheid denial?

Where does this story end, are we going to see closure, or are we going into another round of window-dressing?

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