Some people still believe that if you push a certain narrative, even if it’s a lie, people will end up believing that lie.
In this modern world, where there are various communication channels, this behaviour is archaic and self-destructive.
Newspapers are losing readership and reputation and some of these are self-inflicted.
We are not in the habit of judging others or telling them how to conduct their businesses but the behaviour of one Sunday newspaper, City Press and its Sports and News Editor, Mr Timothy Molobi is unbecoming, unprofessional and borders on blatant abuse of power. His tendency of taking sides, bashing targeted individuals and turn a blind eye on others is there for all to see and football people are taking note.
In the long run, Stratcom behaviours have always come back to haunt certain publications. In this case, the football family is beginning to see through Mr Molobi and his concerted agenda against the South African Football Association. The message is, never underestimate the power of football.
For many years, Mr Molobi using City Press has waged an open war against the South African Football Association (SAFA).
However this Sunday, the publication sunk even lower than its not so high standards when it comes to dealing with SAFA.
On Thursday afternoon, SAFA received the following email from City Press Reporter, Mr Daniel Mothowagae, one sober and fair individual.
The message read:
Dear Mr Chimhavi
We trust this email finds you well.
City Press was hoping to join the SAFA virtual press conference today on SAFA “replying to Ex-CEO allegations” but it’s clear the event won’t happen soon.
The presser would have afforded us a chance to ask SAFA President Dr Danny Jordaan questions relating to some serious allegations contained in the document prepared by ex-CEO Mr Denis Mumble to the National Executive Committee members. Mumble confirmed to us that he authored the document.
It is important to note that the Mumble document has been shared widely and it is now a public document, hence our interest in running this story in City Press.
Given the serious nature of the allegations, we felt it is only fair to put this to Dr Jordaan, who is the focal point of Mr Mumble’s accusations.
1. Has Dr Jordaan seen the document and what was his immediate response?
2. Can Dr Jordaan comment on these claims by Mr Mumble:
· That he routinely intervened in the work of the Secretariat in clear violation of one of the prescripts of the SAFA Statutes;
· He personally reached an agreement with Coach Baxter who was never among the candidates under consideration for the Bafana coaching post;
· Championed the notion that SAFA should never be dominated by PSL and has spearheaded many efforts to prevent it hence the strained relations between SAFA and PSL;
· That Sponsors AB-InBev were insistent that the Association should either suspend the President or ask him to step aside until he has satisfactorily dealt with the rape allegations and as a result, AB-Inbev withheld R10 million of their sponsorship because of this matter;
· That he unilaterally taken financial decisions on the Fun Valley / NTC purchase and the plan to spend another R100 million on a hotel on site; and also took a unilateral decision to write off R450 million of broadcast income from Siyaya TV, without so much as a fleeting deference to the Association’s Accounting Officer (the CEO)
- Spending about R10m on legal fees and on a trip to the US on the issue of the $10m 2010 Fifa World Cup bribe allegations and that he used the association’s monies to fight his own battles – paying a PR company during the rape allegations
3. Also, has the NEC responded to the document? If so, what was their response? If not, are they intending to respond and when?
Looking forward to the response.
City Press Sports Desk
To this, SAFA penned and sent this response to City Press, which was emailed to City Press Editor-in-Chief, Mr Mondli Makhanya, copied News/Sports Editor, Mr Molobi and Mr Mothowagae.
This was SAFA’s full response:
Dear Mr Makhanya,
SAFA’s Response to City Press’ Questions:
Over the years, City Press – in particular, the News/Sports Editor Mr Timothy Molobi – has seemed to have adopted a particular stance when it comes to reporting news involving SAFA (which appears, of late, to have become a week in week out favourite pastime).
Among other concerns, SAFA is of the view that City Press has – primarily through Mr Molobi – a history of publishing comments which have been unfair to SAFA in circumstances where the organisation has not been afforded the opportunity to fully state its position and thereby allow for balanced, objective and fact-based reporting on certain events.
Over the years, Mr Molobi has certainly appeared to side with everyone who has stood against SAFA’s current leadership in elections. Even after those elections, Mr Molobi has published extensively on the basis of the views of those who lost the elections – without giving the current leadership an opportunity to provide a balanced view (if in doubt, please visit your own archives and view Mr Molobi’s articles about SAFA).
Mr Molobi’s unfair and biased stance in matters concerning SAFA is ongoing. As recent as a week ago, he wrote in his Opinion piece (which, in my view, is an abuse of office) that it is time that SAFA was investigated. However, the article does not state who should conduct this investigation, nor list the issues that warrant investigation.
However, at some stage, the same Mr Molobi had weekly engagements with SAFA’s former CEO, Mr Mumble. Has he asked Mr Mumble why he did not give him this information that Mr Mumble is coming out with now more than a year after leaving office as CEO?
SAFA has tried, on several occasions now, to plead for what it considers to be fair and equitable treatment by City Press, and even held meetings with the Editorial Executives, to no avail.
Given these considerations, SAFA is of the view that it will serve no meaningful purpose to answer your questions one by one, since SAFA has repeatedly articulated its position on these matters in the past.
However, we implore City Press that, should it decide to proceed to publish the story with whatever angle it chooses, you also publish the above, in full, as SAFA’s response.
SAFA Head of Communications
Mr Makhanya’s terse response was:
I trust you are well.
Your correspondence has been received.
Lo and behold, came Sunday, true to form and just as SAFA had anticipated, City Press ran three different articles painting SAFA in a very bad light. They did this using a document by former SAFA CEO Dennis Mumble which has since been discredited by all of SAFA’s 9 Provinces. Just for the record, SAFA is run by members in good standing not media.
City Press also ran an obviously well-orchestrated “guest column” by Sello Rabothata which spewed the same vitriol as previously done by Molobi by calling for SAFA to be investigated.
This was accompanied by a long article on Page 23 jointly penned by Molobi and Mothowagae where the malicious and nonsensical document written by former SAFA CEO Mr Dennis Mumble was quoted extensively.
And then on Page 24 under the headline “Jordaan Must Resign – Mumble” and co-authored by the two journalists, again Mumble’s “dossier” was given acres and acres of space.
Right at the bottom of this article, City Press disingenuously stated:
“City Press put these allegations to Jordaan this week. In an emailed response from spokesperson Dominic Chimhavi, SAFA accused City Press of unfair treatment when reporting on the matter.
“Given these considerations, SAFA is of the view that it will serve no meaningful purpose to answer your questions one by one, since Safa has repeatedly articulated its position om these matters in the past” wrote Chimhavi in an email in which Jordaan, SAFA’s acting chief executive officer Tebogo Motlanthe and chief financial officer Gronie Hluyo were copied.
If this is what passes for fair, balanced and honest journalism these days, then the craft is not headed for the dogs but is already sharing the kennels with the four-legged canines.
Allowing such unbridled campaign to go on under the guise of journalism would be tantamount to spitting in the graves of freedom fighters such as the late Aggrey Klaaste, Stan Modjuwadi and others who suffered under apartheid for the Press Freedom that today’s journalists are enjoying.
It is high time that the media realises and respects the principle enshrined in our Constitution that Freedom of Speech is a two-way process. The media cannot be allowed to go berserk and trample on individuals and organisations’ rights with no restraint.
SAFA as an organisation will not allow its name to be dragged through the mud for nefarious business and uncouth agendas.
Given the above facts and background, you be the judge if City Press adhered to the high standards of transparency, balanced, fair and honest reporting.
It is high time SAFA members across the country have a critical view of City Press’ agenda and see the publication for what it is.