Mantashe accuses journalists of “punting” a theme for ANC’s low performance

ANC Chairperson Gwede Mantashe. File Picture: Dumisani Dube Independent Newspapers

ANC Chairperson Gwede Mantashe. File Picture: Dumisani Dube Independent Newspapers

Published May 30, 2024


ANC Chairperson Gwede Mantashe has come out guns blazing in attack of the media for sending out the wrong message about load shedding and “punting” a “theme for change” during the 2024 elections.

Speaking exclusively to The Star on Thursday morning at the election Results Operating Centre (Roc) in Midrand where the Electorate Commission of SA is stationed to announce the election results by Sunday, Mantashe accused journalists of becoming politicians.

About 26 million South Africans were registered to vote on Wednesday for a new governing party, among 52 contesting.

“Journalists have been planting a seed that load shedding done on purpose from the ANC government… it can’t be that load shedding will come back after elections.

“I can tell you now that this is a plan that was in motion from July 2022 that is giving us results now... Journalists plant a seed that the end of load shedding is about elections and it will come back.

“You don’t account for the progress that has already been made. We are over 60 days without load shedding,” Mantashe said.

He said that the energy availability in the country was at 70.78 %, which means coal generators were doing better.

Mantashe further denied assertions that the government had reduced load shedding by using diesel generators.

“Once you talk about electricity availability factor, you talk about the performance of the generators and not diesel,” he said.

He said the government did not pay anything more to reduce load shedding.

“There is no payment here, it’s the performance of generation facilities… power stations are performing better,” he said.

Mantashe further blamed journalists for “punting” and “behaving like politicians”.

“I have no complaints but all I’m saying is I expect better from journalists… I’m expecting journalists to do an objective analysis and that people make their choices.

“But once journalists punt a particular line they cease to be journalists and become political parties themselves,” he said.

Mantashe singled out Newzroom Afrika.

“If you look yesterday (Wednesday) on Newzroom Afrika, they were punting a theme of vote for change… Even at interviews when they went to Wits, those who were in ANC colours were not interviewed. They were interviewing people selectively… They were punting to vote for change. They are being unfair and it’s not journalistic,” he said.

However, the National Press Club (NPC) condemned Mantashe’s attack on journalists.

“We condemn these allegations because journalists don’t make an impact on how political parties perform. The media have no role to play in their performance.

“Parties know where to complain if they have grievances against the media,” NPC’s Frans Machete said.

The Star