Sowetan editor should've been fired, not Miyeni - AZAPO

Columnist's insinuation that it's okay for black people to be corrupt nonetheless appalling

AZAPO calls for the reinstatement of Eric Miyeni

The Azanian People's Organization (AZAPO), welcomes with ambivalence the decision by the Sowetan newspaper to ‘discontinue' Eric Miyeni's column following the controversy it caused when Miyeni referred to Ms Ferial Haffajee as a "black snake in the grass, deployed by white capital to sow discord among blacks".

In AZAPO's view it is the editor who okayed the publishing of the article who should answer or get fired, not Miyeni. AZAPO understands editorial columns to be about personal opinions; opinions that could and must be challenged. These opinions are usually thought-provoking and act as catalysts for public discourse.

The editor who allowed the publishing of the article understood this and went ahead notwithstanding the fact that there were distasteful elements in the said article. These distasteful elements bordered on racism and personal attack on the person of Ms Haffajee.

The pertinent question to ask is "Why is it that this editor could only realise after publishing the article that something was amiss with it? On the strength if the argument advanced above, and in the spirit of freedom of expression, AZAPO suggests that Miyeni be re-instated as a columnist, and that the editor's error of judgment be discussed by the management of Sowetan.

Having said the above, AZAPO is equally appalled that respectable columnists such as Eric Miyeni could insinuate that it is okay for black people to be corrupt. Miyeni argues that newspaper front pages are wrongly filled (daily) with stories about black people who are allegedly corrupt. He further argues that the same reporting does not happen with white people who are allegedly corrupt.

The question this kind of thinking raises is, since when have white people been a moral compass for black people? Does this mean when white people amassed the wealth they have through alleged corrupt means, black people should do likewise?

Miyeni should be aware that when we fought against apartheid and the white power structure, we wanted a complete removal of graft in all its forms in public office or extensions of it. Sadly, as Miyeni wishes to see, this graft has remained even after the ‘removal' of a white power structure.

Following Miyeni's warped thinking, stories about Sicelo Shiceka, Mike Mabuyakhulu, Peggy Nkonyeni, Nathi Mthethwa, Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde, Julius Malema and many more, should remain hidden from the public. Miyeni seems to defend corrupt capital accumulation more than Ms Haffajee who appears to expose it.

In conclusion, AZAPO believes that law enforcement agencies must investigate any allegation regarding Julius Malema's involvement in under-handed activities. Needless, to mention that if found guilty Julius Malema and company should face the full might of the law. This will deter others who are currently involved in dodgy deals and other criminal activities. Looting of public funds should be fought by all means necessary for the sake of our country!

Statement issued by Gaontebale Nodoba, AZAPO National Spokesperson, August 2 2011

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