By Solam Yves Ludidi
“We are in strange times, which are normal times. It is difficult to know what to do as a matter of certainty”. Litha Hermanus, the author of The Eyes of the Naked (a political and psychological novel that deals with violence), penned these words. Indeed, South Africa is a broken and collapsing society that is inflicted by lawlessness, whose authorities seem to be encouraging it for their own agendas.
People are brutalised and murdered in this country in a horrific manner almost every day. But then we have the kind of politicians who criticize journalists, as they are convinced that news reporters are “enhancing fear, antipathy and negativity”. What the Minister of International Relations Naledi Pandor recently said: “I think it is the South African media that is depicting South Africa as xenophobic, because the South African media is very keen to keep this impression alive,” is a case in point.
Just a bit of lecture to the honourable Minister; journalists gather general information including crime to keep the public informed. This is done through follow-up on leads, conducting interviews, and research on their subjects so that they are as well informed as possible. Therefore, we fact-check our findings, then write them up in an article for printing or a script to be read on air.
So, her claim is baseless because the media are not here to please the government, or anybody for that matter.
As she is expected to attend the 74th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) conference, without doubt, for uttering such words Pandor will definitely shine in New York at the expense of the South African media. At the same time, the Minister will also acquire her goal in an attempt to repair South Africa’s image, that has been damaged by the wave of xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals.
Xenophobia has been an urgent debate, since the “Buyelekhaya” (Go Back Home) campaign started in the Alexandra Township in 1995. Up to this day, government’s efforts to end xenophobia has been in vain. Her ministry has failed dismally to come up with a unilateral solution to this dilemma.
The then Inkatha Freedom Party leader, Mangosuthu Buthelezi, took a bold step to engage himself with the perpetrators of these unfortunate attacks. What he did is applaudable and is a sign of good leadership. I think that the powers that be should copy his example, in order to get rid of xenophobia.
The truth of the matter here is that Pandor is promoting anarchy. Talking the talk is easy, how about walking the talk?
Photo: Naledi Pandor. Picture: VELI NHLAPO / SOWETAN