Revealed: How newspaper owner threw hissy fit at editor

29 January 2015 - 02:13
By Andre Jurgens and Tanya Farber
DEPARTURE: Alide Dasnois
DEPARTURE: Alide Dasnois

Independent Newspapers proprietor Dr Iqbal Survé vowed at a disciplinary hearing to use his "billions" to influence how the world would remember ousted Cape Times editor Alide Dasnois.

Newly released transcripts of the disciplinary hearing against Dasnois emerged yesterday in pleadings filed on her behalf at the Labour Court in Cape Town.

Dasnois, who is challenging her dismissal and seeking substantial compensation, was initially denied a recording of her hearing.

During the disciplinary hearing, Survé allegedly launched a "number of unrestrained vitriolic attacks" against Dasnois, rendering her participation in it "impossible", the court papers say. They included:

  • Calling Dasnois a racist - not one of the charges she faced; and
  • Claiming that the way she had edited the paper "could be explained on the basis that she was an irrational woman consumed with hate".

Based on a transcript of the hearing, Survé said: "History will prove me right.And she will forever be remembered in the world as the editor that could not put Nelson Mandela on the front page. My billions will be used to make sure that it will be written that way."

Dasnois was relieved of her post as editor of the Cape Times during a verbal confrontation the day after Nelson Mandela died.

Survé later claimed it was because she had run a wrap-around instead of a front-page story on Mandela's death.

The story on page one that day was a scathing finding against Survé's company, Sekunjalo, bythe public protector, who had investigated a controversial government marine tender.

Dasnois had to go to court to get a recording of her own disciplinary hearing, held on May 15. The transcripts now form part of her claim against the company.

Lutfia Vayej, head of communications at Independent Newspapers, was not available for comment yesterday.

William Bird, head of Media Monitoring Africa, said: "It seems astonishing that she would be denied a copy of her hearing. From a simple due process perspective it seems patently unfair. From a media perspective it undermines their credibility to not give her a copy."