INL: the plot thickens

Posted on December 24, 2013

Apologies.  This is a belated blog, the item having been written several days ago.  But it may sill be of interest to those who may not have seen it.

It appears that it was a fairly recently ordained pastor and political changeling, Wesley Douglas, who was the organiser of the group that gatecrashed a Right to Know (R2K) protest in Cape Town on December 17. A former member of the ANC Youth League, Douglas later joined the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP), got involved in the travel business and, four years ago, became a Pentecostal pastor.

Another prominent figure at the protest, who spent much of her time at the demonstration busily tweeting about “DA police”, gave her name to a fellow journalist as Leanne Neethling. This is the name of the young woman who studied law at Unisa and who happens to be the “policy, investor relations and research officer” in the office of Iqbal Surve, putative owner of Independent Newspapers (INL).

Douglas organised the gatecrash protest in the name of the very recently formed Movement for the Transformation of Media in South Africa (MTMSA) that apparently includes the Progressive Professionals Forum, headed by the controversial Jimmy Manyi. Until recently, Douglas gave his contact details as the Hillsong Church and his occupation as “CEO at Hillsong Africa Foundation”. According to the church, he left this post earlier this year “to pursue other interests”. He also now “oversees the social media unit” in the Western Cape for the ANC.

The R2K protest outside the offices of INL was to demand editorial independence, freedom of information and the reinstatement of sacked Cape Times editor, Alide Dasnois. According to the gatecrashers, who carried expensively produced placards and full colour glossy posters, Dasnois was not sacked but “redeployed” for failing to lead the Cape Times front page with the death of Nelson Mandela.

However, Dasnois and her editorial team produced a four page wraparound that gave the Cape Times an effective new front page, followed by three pages of detail about the life and times of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. Only hours after Dasnois was effectively dismissed as editor, Time magazine in the United States voted the Cape Times coverage as one of the 14 best Mandela front pages in the world.

Posted in: Commentary