Johannesburg - Attacking Beeld editor Adriaan Basson will not make the scandal on the security upgrades to President Jacob Zuma's private home go away, the DA said on Tuesday.
“The hysterical response to Basson's opinion piece highlights the ANC's insecurity and inability to rationally explain the lavish upgrades to the president's private home,” Democratic Alliance spokesman Marius Redelinghuys said in a statement.
“The free and independent media is a watchdog against government abuse, not a lapdog that protects it from scrutiny.”
The ANC on Tuesday accused Basson of campaigning to get rid of Zuma.
In his column on news24.com, which originally appeared in Beeld titled “How do we get rid of President Jacob Zuma?”, Basson said the country needed a new leader and that Zuma could not stay on as president for much longer.
He believed Zuma was not that leader and this was evident in his response to Parliament to reports on the R246 million security upgrades to his private Nkandla homestead in KwaZulu-Natal.
Basson replied to the ANC saying his column spoke for itself.
“This was not an 'intended call-to-arms' against President Zuma, but the articulation of widely held discussions by people inside and outside of the ANC who are increasingly agitated by President Zuma's failure of leadership.”
ANC spokesman Zizi Kodwa accused Basson of resorting to “blatant lies” about Zuma regarding Nkandla.
He said Public Protector Thuli Madonsela found that Zuma had not used state funds to build his private residence.
Redelinghuys accused the ANC of attacking freedom of expression and the media to divert public attention from Nkandla.
“The ANC must focus its attacks on the scourge of corruption, maladministration and abuse of power, and let the free and independent media play its rightful role in supporting, advancing and promoting democracy,” he said. - Sapa