Johnny Masilela, The BEAT editor, Letters...

Towards the goat trails of Nkandla


Johnny Masilela   l   Views: 157

 The art of designing and packaging the front page of a newspaper is somewhat tricky.

The front page, in terms of headline and pictures, is primarily aimed at making sure The BEAT title does stand out alongside the mainstream press such as Daily Sun, or even the all-powerful Sunday Times.

Because of the affordability of our cover price, we strive that whoever picks up say, City Press, also picks up The BEAT for purposes of local content.

Last weekend we ran with the front page headline “Graft panic buttons”, which was a gamble in a way because civil servants in these neck of the woods are supposed to be clean of corruption, or are they?

The success of this particular edition tells an interesting story about the corruption narrative in the Waterberg.

The article was to the effect that ANC Deputy President, David Mabuza, brought bad news for corrupt civil servants and politicians, by endorsing Cyril Ramaphosa’s relentless pursuit of those with their hands in the till.

The article continued to attract steady interest from online readers, with several of them posting their “like” for the anti-corruption narrative.

Now who are these readers who “liked’ the story, and what did they necessarily “like” about its content?

Surely it could not be “liked” by those with their hands in the till, or indeed individuals who have stolen funds intended for the wellbeing of the poorest of the poor.

The graft narrative aside, the backstory was that Mabuza, a known Jacob Zuma supporter, gave many of the readers a pleasant surprise when he charged that Ramaphosa “is very safe with me next to him.”

In all fairness, this line could have attracted some, if not all, of the “likes” on The BEAT website.

As you may have noticed, there has been a slight increase in the political content of your favourite read.

The reason is simple; the arrival of Cyril Ramaphosa as the new sheriff in town has changed the national political discourse for all time.

That is why in this letter last weekend we ran with the headline “Ramaphosa is bad news for the DA and EFF”, which also drew a fair share of social media attention.

At the time of writing this, President Jacob Zuma was reportedly on a pushback to have him removed as head of state.

By the time you read this (written on Monday 5 February), a lot should have happened between the Sona, or no Sona.

My prediction – in hindsight – is that the ANC NEC would either allow Zuma to use the Sona as a farewell platform for the grumpy old man, or recall him and have Ramaphosa take to the podium on Thursday, 8 February.

There was also another narrative, at the time of writing, that the whole Sona may well be postponed until a clear decision had been taken around Zuma.

Either way, the game is over for the Zulu traditional dancer from the goat and cattle trails of Nkandla.

3 months ago       08 February 2018