Media coverage of racist pool incident leaves much to be desired

IT HAS become a stock type of news story in our country. A racist incident leading to outrage, promises of prosecution by politicians, opportunity for anti-racist lectures, a flash-point for hot-heads followed by calls for calm by moderates.

It is not tame media coverage which is to blame for the way in which we digest these stories, it is a total lack of engagement with the subject matter compounded by a flagrant disregard for news objectivity which is to blame. One may be forgiven for thinking journos like Eusebius McKaiser who believe ‘media coverage of Maselspoort racist attack is too tame‘, are literally barking up the wrong tree.

Witness the manner in which our print media along with its commentators (ranks and file influencers and opinion-makers), jump to their conclusions, treating readers like absolute morons requiring remedial aid for a disease known as racism, one associated with our nation’s egregious past? In the process editors fail to provide readers even the most basic facts of what is known about the story.

A video circulating on social media for instance shows a man pushing a youth into a pool. The situation rapidly escalates into a confrontation. Violence needs to be condemned, but why is this incident racism and not hooliganism?

Instead of focusing on the material evidence which follows, our media cover nothing more than the allegations, statements made by the boys, the police docket followed by the charges. The result is that New York Times scoops our media, as social media turns up shocking CCTV footage.

All the videos require further investigation.

The first color video circulating, requires that viewers turn up the sound. A man can clearly be heard telling a youth to ‘get out of the pool’. This is an objective fact, not an opinion subject to an affidavit.

The CCTV footage shows an altercation at the gate, people are turned back while one youth jumps a fence. These are all facts bolstering the allegations.

Another segment shows some people getting out of the pool when a black youth (the fence jumper?) jumps in — mere coincidence or rather an extraordinary detail, all adding to the allegations of racism at a Bloemfontein resort on Christmas Day?

Instead of maintaining an objective tone, the press unfortunately doubled-down on a well-known theme, (yet another racist access drama), pre-empting readers’ own appreciation of the facts — an unfortunate foregone conclusion to the story, one which is leading many to outright scepticism and even racism fatigue.

Such scepticism can only be tackled by rational discourse. Instead of pandering to any one contingent, our press should seek to mediate between what is objective reality and subjective opinion.

Published in part by Cape Argus 3 January 2023

EFF commits itself to policy of murder on behalf of ‘the revolution’

JULIUS MALEMA has doubled-down on his statements calling murder a ‘revolutionary activity’. The party advocates the use of violence in dealing with what it terms, racism and ‘white supremacy’. Begging the question who gets to decide which is which, and with obvious problems presented by vigilantism? While South Africa may have laws against hate speech and even racism, we certainly don’t have a summary death penalty for either.

The SA Human Rights Commission had earlier found that EFF leader’s speech and posters and banners displayed at the party’s Provincial People’s Assembly in the Western Cape last month “collectively, constitute incitement of violence, hate speech”. 

In his speech before his party’s provincial assembly, Malema said a white person involved in an incident at Brackenfell High School in 2020, should have been be dealt with more brutally, and went from promoting the murder of his opponents, to providing a rationale for a resumption of armed struggle along similar lines once advocated by the late Nelson Mandela, before the advent of the current democratic order.

Malema said anyone standing in the way of his party’s own self-styled ‘revolution’ should be ‘eliminated’, and dealt with ‘by any means necessary’, by which one can only assume, he means to topple the current democratic dispensation, one which provides sanctuary and due process to those charged with a crime, and compensation to those wronged by abhorrent past race policies.

Malema in a video available on Youtube, can be seen telling EFF members that they must “not be afraid to kill” and that “killing is a revolutionary act”. 

The EFF leader is also quoted as saying: “Why did Mandela take up a gun?… He took up a gun because the revolution had reached a point where there was no longer an alternative but to kill.”

“Anything that stands in the way of the revolution must be eliminated. The EFF… is not a playground for racists and any racists that play next to the EFF and threatens and beat up the membership and the leadership of the EFF, that is the application to meet your maker with immediate effect.”

After the SAHRC decision, a press statement put out by EFF South Africa, deployed both Franz Fanon and dialectical materialism to provide a rationalisation for their reasons for embarking upon a path of violence. The party upbraided the SAHRC for ‘contradicting Fanon’ on issues to do with violence, written whilst the author was supporting Algerian independence from France.

Given 10 days by the SAHRC to issue an apology, Malema said, he would challenge the decision in court, and further claimed the ‘honeymoon for whites is over’.

SEE Gauleiters, the authoritarian left and its defense of paramilitary politics in South Africa