Attention: News Editors/Reporters
For Immediate Release
18 December 2018
EThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede Responds to Vitriolic and Unfounded Allegations
I note with aversion the latest salvo from a reputable media institution whose sole intention is only to impugn on my reputation and public standing as the Mayor of eThekwini Municipality. While the published article masquerades as a breaking news story, it is in fact an epitome of gutter journalism at its worst.
The story which appeared in media publications dating from 16 December 2018, makes malicious and unfounded allegations without even making an effort to verify the facts. I want to state it upfront that there are certain obligations that journalists and publishers have to honour as basic tenets of journalism which appear to have been overlooked when the malicious allegations were peddled in the media:
1. It is imperative that the writer of the article make every endeavour to contact and to obtain a comment from the object of the article. To this end, neither I nor my office were contacted for a comment or our side of the story.
2.The source of information especially if it is of a compromising or accusatorial nature; ought to be verified as reliable and responsible. The sources of these allegations aimed specifically at me appear to be nameless, unauthorised individuals, allegedly in the employ of the Hawks.
3. Although the insinuation that I am corrupt is a direct and specific allegation, it is puzzling that the extent of my culpability are sadly lacking; which in my opinion amounts to nothing more than irresponsible rumour mongering camouflaged as investigative journalism. This is yet another attempt by some media personnel who operate as hired guns to stoop to sensationalism to besmirch and defame me.
4. In this regard I place on record that I reserve my right to institute action against the publication that peddled and originated these malicious and false accusations. I wish to further highlight few pertinent facts which trump the spurious allegations and expose the nefarious intentions of the faceless sources behind the allegations.
These are:
1. The alleged irregular tender mentioned in the article were advertised, adjudicated and awarded long before my tenure as the Mayor. It is surprising that an investigative journalist would not delve into the history of the tender process. This was completed long before I was appointed as a Mayor. In any event there is no mention on how and by what means the process was influenced and what precisely in the entire process was flawed and corrupt.
The statement from spokesperson from the Hawks indicate that the investigation is continuing and intensifying and yet make no mention of my being a suspect or of my imminent arrest, however, media articles choses headlines, giving the impression that my arrest is imminent while there is no confirmation from the named official spokesperson of the Hawks.
There is clear evidence that the timing of these spurious allegations are meant to coincide with election campaign and the compilation of the candidate list processes.
There is an unequivocal political agenda at play designed to influence political processes and further the intentions of some factions and ideological opponents. It is tragic that reporters are becoming a pawn in this political game.
The irresponsibility with which negative articles are penned, false as they are, takes no consideration for the potential unwarranted negative impact on the city of Durban, administration, investments and political component of the local government structure.
I reaffirm as I have done on numerous occasions that:
1. I was instrumental in establishing the City Integrity and Investigation Unit (CIIU) and vesting it with wide powers it has to fight corruption.
2. I am and have always fought corruption in any form without fear or favour and will continue to do so.
I shall continue to serve the city as I have and shall fearlessly defend my integrity and image. I urge media institutions to be careful not to be used as conveyor belts of fake news or to be used as propaganda instruments by certain elements.
I urge the media to continue to be the voice of the people and to call to order the few that are close to degenerating into becoming propaganda mercenaries.
Issued by Cllr Zandile Gumede, eThekwini Municipality Mayor, Durban City Hall
For more information, contact Spokesperson Mthunzi Gumede 0714127701
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