Michael Trapido
Michael Trapido

Zuma and Forum of Black Journalists disgrace South Africa

There is no nice way of saying this, but those black journalists who chased away their white colleagues at a function attended by Jacob Zuma should not be allowed to continue in this profession. If they are to provide a safeguard against political abuse and report on the moral well-being of this country, then I have a number of problems.

In no particular order :

Racists are the last people who should be judging the morality of others. The conduct of these journalists was reprehensible and, in my opinion, they have waived the right to report on anything political. In order to assist those who did not arrange the function or its racist composition, I would merely ask whether they walked out once they had learned of its racist nature.

By accepting that there is a place for racism in South Africa you are, by your disgusting conduct, confirming that whites-only schools, Afrikaans-only clubs and any other exclusivity is appropriate. Far worse, your conduct itself is all the proof that separatists need for a new whites-only state.

This issue is starting to appear with alarming frequency, which in light of such conduct is hardly surprising. If you believe that apartheid is in order, then please record that for all to read. The fact that it is blacks in charge of this abomination instead of whites will achieve the same results as the original version — sanctions.

If you are journalists who support JZ, then you could not have done him a greater disservice. You have made him a party to the latest version of South Africa’s fascination with segregation and it doesn’t look pretty.

In a country where BEE and affirmative action (legislated — but necessary — racism) along with sporting tokenism (a disgraceful form of unnecessary racism) is a daily affront, we are now confronted with elitism and hatred like this garbage from journalists who, of all people, should have known better. Having arranged this function on a racist basis, what moral ground are you going to stand on when you are excluded based on your race in the future?

This smacks of journalists who believe that only a select few “government-of-the-future lackeys” are responsible enough to be allowed to report during the Zuma presidency. Something along the lines of the censored media of apartheid, who justified the government of the day regardless of how good or bad their performance. Anything contrary was to be suppressed.

If I may be so bold, Mr Zuma: you have now been to Mauritius and told the court there that you were the victim of a plot led by President Mbeki; your faction is determined to dismantle the two most effective police units we have; and you have strongly indicated that the press will be subject to stricter controls.

To me, correct me if I’m wrong, this equates to corruption unchecked and unreported leading to a loss of billions to the poor so that an elite few can achieve absolute control — the champion of the poor in essence being the biggest danger to the poor, as not only will the resources allocated to their upliftment be severely depleted, but two of their most vital safeguards (effective policing and a strong, effective media) will also be but a thing of the past.

Your conduct in concluding that there was nothing wrong with this blatant racism sends the worst possible message to South Africans and the rest of the world. Locally it is tantamount to licensing groups to close ranks and exclude everyone else — unless you are suggesting that there are different rules for different groups. In the case of the latter, that inconsistency would be a recipe for uncertainty, which will result in a lacuna where the rule of law used to be.

Abroad, the message is: welcome back, apartheid, under new management.