Every constitutional democracy thrives on accountability and transparency. It is even more critical for any democratic government to be accessible, especially at a time when the nation’s stability and the security of its citizens are under threat as we have seen in our country – with the looting and destruction of the past week in KwaZulu-Natal and parts of Gauteng. All of this takes place as the country is still grappling with the third wave of Covid-19.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has periodically addressed the nation over the past seventeen months largely about the country’s response to the pandemic.
The President has publicly committed to taking questions at the end of his speeches but has yet to do so – despite repeated assurances that he would do so.
Once more, the South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) calls on President Ramaphosa to take media questions when addressing the nation on these critical matters of national importance.
The frustration within the media fraternity is that the ministerial briefings, which usually follow his addresses, leave the media with more questions than answers, and not adequate time allocated to questions.
The past few days have been tough on all South Africans, hence more clarity is being sought from the government on its response on critical matters such as the economy, security, and food security.
As SANEF – given the events of the past week – we would also appreciate if we could see more interaction from the national leadership of the police, defence, and intelligence services, giving daily updates on developments.
We reiterate that the violent and deadly incidents of the past few days have also highlighted the need for the President to take the lead and field questions from the media. Our duty as the media fraternity is to help the public understand these critical issues and ensure that crucial and credible information is filtered through to our audiences – to dispel myths, disinformation and misinformation campaigns.
Note to Editors: The South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) is a non-profit organisation whose members are editors, senior journalists, and journalism trainers from all areas of the South African media. We are committed to championing South Africa’s hard-won freedom of expression and promoting quality, ethics, and diversity in the South African media. We promote excellence in journalism through fighting for media freedom, writing policy submissions, research and education and training programmes. SANEF is not a union.
For more information please contact:
Sbu Ngalwa – SANEF Chairperson (073) 404-1415
Adriaan Basson – SANEF Deputy Chairperson (082) 562-2113
Mahlatse Mahlase – Secretary General (083) 399-2852
Nwabisa Makunga – Treasurer (082) 555-1972
Mary Papayya – SANEF Media Freedom Chair (082) 379-4957
Asanda Ngoasheng – Western Cape Convenor – 082 610 9374
Judy Sandison – SANEF KZN Convenor (082) 571-3334
Katy Katopodis – SANEF Gauteng Convenor (082) 805-7022
Chiara Carter – SANEF Eastern Cape Convenor (082) 659-9162
Reggy Moalusi – SANEF Executive Director (071) 682-3695