HOW the memory plays tricks. Not so long ago, Terry Bell, the self-styled labour correspondent who started out at the Independent Group, where he failed to cover any labour disputes involving his bosses, was praising the political dispensation.
Now that he has found a home at Naspers subsidiary Media24, where he once again fails to cover any cases involving his bosses, Bell has taken to writing obscure tracts on state capture and ‘Die Broederbond’.
Perhaps a sign that Bell still has some spine left and could be coming round to Medialternatives’ own exposé of the cartel that is key to understanding state capture of the media and vice versa? (See post here and here)
We certainly hope so.
In a piece published on Bell’s website and ironically also carried by News24, Bell writes about an inquiry during the Verwoerd period, to investigate secretive societies such as the “Afrikaner Broederbond (AB), the Freemasons and the Sons of England”.
In particular he writes about the “exposes (sic) by the brilliant investigative reporter, Charles Bloomberg that revealed that the secretive AB cabal was making the real decisions about the future of the country; that parliament was merely being used as a rubber stamp.”
The inquiry makes an interesting analogy: “Unlike the present allegations of attempts to capture existing state machinery, the first state capture, by the AB, came about through the steady infiltration of leading sections of the Afrikaner nationalist establishment. Over nearly 30 years, leading Afrikaner politicians, academics, religious leaders and educationalists, were recruited to the AB with the object of eventually seizing control of the state and all aspects of society.”
If this doesn’t get your goat, then Bell’s relating of the Teljoy saga (really a prequel to the later Naspers-Multichoice debacle under the regime of PW Botha) definitely gets our blessing, as a piece of apartheid controversy crucial to understanding media today.
“A number of powerful AB members had financial stakes in an embryonic television hire company, Teljoy. This company became South Africa’s leading television and VCR rental organisation with significant interests in cellular telephony. Political modernity had again found its justification in the marketplace.”
“The charade, which then followed, was a classic of its kind. John Vorster appointed an official commission of inquiry into whether and when South Africa should introduce television. The commission was chaired by Broeder 787, Piet Meyer, who was simultaneously head of the national broadcaster, the SABC and of the AB. Eight of the other 11 members of the commission were also AB members while a ninth was a National Party senator. But the 12 commission members merely constituted the public face of the process. As soon as the inquiry was announced, the Broederbond notified its cells and canvassed the opinions that would really matter.”