ANC accuses M&G of 'right-wing' agenda

The ANC on Friday accused the Mail&Guardian of a rightwing agenda in the way it reports on the ruling party.

This followed a report in the weekly newspaper that the African National Congress had, for the first time, admitted it could not deliver what it had promised voters, particularly regarding infrastructure.

The acknowledgement was reportedly made in a frank report by the presidential infrastructure co-ordinating commission (PICC) presented by Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel at the ANC's lekgotla last week.

According to the report, poor planning, slow movement of projects during government transition periods, squabbling, energy challenges and cost overruns were responsible for delays in meeting the government's targets.

According to the Mail&Guardian report, senior party leaders said ANC national executive committee members discussed the possibility of voters realising the party had not delivered on its promises and discussed how the party could try to appease them.

ANC spokesman Zizi Kodwa on Friday called the Mail&Guardian's report a political tabloid story based on gossip and the newspaper's agenda.

"Because of its rightwing agenda against a democratic and progressive state it has compromised some of the basic journalistic ethics... [they] do everything possible to discredit the democratic state," he said.

Kodwa said the ANC had made an official announcement on the meeting's outcomes.

"Because of their rightwing political agenda they won't accept anything official from government or the ANC," he said.

Government had made many advances in infrastructure, evident in the amount of construction going on in the country, he added.

Mail&Guardian editor Angela Quintal said the newspaper had relied on the official document presented by Patel.

"We have a copy of the document and quoted extensively from it. We always strive to go beyond official announcements and try harder to probe beneath the surface."

Quintal said the paper tried to seek context and further information from party officials. Some of them were prepared to be quoted on the record while others feared doing so and would only corroborate the information anonymously.

"We see our role as not one of simply conveying official statements, but one where we pursue fair, informative and quality journalism that goes beyond operating as mere stenographers and offering our readers insight and information beyond the obvious.

"We note too that the ANC's response does not refute any of the facts contained in the article."