News

Cape Argus continues to mislead its readers unabated

18 October 2018

The Cape Argus continues to mislead its readers unabated, with yet another distorted report published today on the draft Western Cape Provincial School Amendment Bill.

The Bill introduces several major education reforms to deepen accountability and quality education in the public schooling system. Reforms include the establishment of a Schools Evaluation Authority; specific provision for collaboration and donor-funded schools; and intervention facilities for learners found guilty of serious misconduct.

A further provision aims to regulate adult functions taking place after hours on school premises, by introducing a strict process by which schools can apply to the Western Cape Education Department for the responsible sale of alcohol to, or consumptions by adults at these events.

The provision is an exception to the general prohibition of alcohol on school premises and at school activities in the Bill.

The Bill aims to better regulate what is already happening at some schools in terms of after-hours adult functions. We further recognise that functions on school premises often have a fund-raising benefit for the school.

The Cape Argus has consistently failed to report the facts to its readers. Instead it continues to distort the true nature of this provision, by offering its readers the misleading narrative that the Bill aims to allow the sale of liquor to learners, seemingly during school hours.

This is simply not true. In fact, the Bill seeks to do exactly the opposite, by introducing greater regulation of after-hours adult functions.

Today's article once again states that the committee is acting "against the advice of its own legal council". This is also not true. There was an initial disagreement between the legal adviser for the committee and the legal advisers for the department, but after discussion, there was an agreement that in fact, the legislation can co-exist with any national legislation. Not that this matters, because provinces have power to make legislation on issues affecting basic education that can conflict with national legislation. However, when this was discussed and the committee's legal adviser conceded this, there was absolutely no coverage of this by the Argus.

Also, when the ANC walked out of the standing committee Argus reporter Jason Felix walked out with them, instead of actually listening to the provincial Education Minister responses on the Bill. If this does not show blatant bias we don't know what does.

Both the Cape Argus and Cape Times have withdrawn from the Press Council of South Africa, the Press Code and Ombudsman process.

This is a clear demonstration that these newspapers are not committed to reporting the facts accurately, fairly and without bias. Readers have voted with their feet, with circulation figures continuing to drop.

Independent Media's distorted reporting is also bank-rolled by public funds, in particular the pension funds of civil servants. A Judicial Commission of Inquiry headed by retired Supreme Court of Appeal President Lex Mpati is now probing the Public Investment Corporation's (PIC) irresponsible bank-rolling of Iqbal Surve's ventures.
We will continue to expose the ongoing distortions peddled by these newspapers.

Media Enquiries: 

Jessica Shelver
Tel: 021 483 6570
E-mail: Jessica.Shelver@westerncape.gov.za