These courageous journalists need our support

11 December 2017 - 05:00 By The Times Editorial
Veteran journalist and author of 'The President's Keepers', Jacques Pauw, leaves the eNCA offices in Hyde Park, Johannesburg on 7 November 2017.
Veteran journalist and author of 'The President's Keepers', Jacques Pauw, leaves the eNCA offices in Hyde Park, Johannesburg on 7 November 2017.
Image: Alaister Russell

The deep dysfunctionality in our criminal justice system will be exposed in the coming days as the police attempt to arrest investigative journalists and authors Jacques Pauw and Pieter-Louis Myburgh.

Both are being pursued by the police on charges relating to information they have published in their books, Pauw's The President's Keepers and Myburgh's The Republic of Gupta.

It says everything about the rule of law in South Africa that the authorities now target two writers with criminal charges yet ignore their astounding revelations of corruption and malfeasance worth billions and involving the most powerful figures in the land.

As the police - more specifically a certain colonel in Durban - prepare to make their move this week, South Africans who have supported Pauw's courageous journalism in what is arguably the most important book to be published in democratic South Africa will need to stand up again and be counted.

It is unconscionable that journalists can face arrest in a constitutional democracy which guarantees freedom of speech, but that is the state of play in South Africa today.

The rule of law has been so subverted that the police now act apparently as the enforcement wing of corrupt criminal networks and shady interests.

These networks have not only slithered their tentacles into state institutions but elsewhere too, as evidenced by the astonishingly clumsy attempt by the Sunday Independent editor Steven Motale to "expose" Pauw's alleged sources on the front page of his paper on Sunday. Motale's piece is a disgrace to journalism, although it was so poorly executed that it is unlikely any reasonably intelligent reader would believe its assertions.

In contrast, Pauw and Myburgh represent the good that remains in South Africa. They need our support in their battle against evil.

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