Popcru condemns media’s coverage of Moti Group

Popcru president Zizamele Cebekhulu-Makhaza (left) and Moti Group CEO Dondo Mogajane. Picture: Supplied

Popcru president Zizamele Cebekhulu-Makhaza (left) and Moti Group CEO Dondo Mogajane. Picture: Supplied

Published Jun 19, 2023


The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) has rallied behind the Moti Group of companies and written to it and its CEO Dondo Mogajane expressing the union’s support for the organisation.

In a statement last week, Popcru said it had noticed an alarming trend in the reporting on black businesses and treatment of black business leaders, whose rights and dignity were being continuously undermined by certain members of the media such as AmaBhungane and News24.

Popcru president Zizamele Cebekhulu-Makhaza said: "Black businesses are under siege by certain members of the media, as they are often subjected to separate and unequal standards and scrutiny from their white counterparts by journalists.

“Yet these same journalists participate in a clear pattern of discrimination, harassment and abuse, refusing to allow black business leaders the proper opportunity to respond to their accusations, or failing to represent their responses fairly and in a balanced manner."

He said in some cases, such as the reporting on the Moti Group, journalists had published stories based on unreliable evidence and sources, without first presenting their information for verification. The subjects of their articles were automatically found guilty by the media without a proper investigation or trial, or any due process.

“Freedom of expression and the role of media are vital in our democracy. We are gravely concerned, however, that the rule of law is not being enforced, and that black businesses are not being treated fairly or impartially.

“We believe that all cases of theft must be treated as theft. Criminals cannot be allowed to manipulate the media or the criminal justice system to avoid accountability for their crimes. This treatment is a gross violation of black businesses’ rights and is impeding the growth and transformation of our economy," Cebekhulu-Makhaza said.

According to the police union president, a report last year by the Department of Trade and Industry’s B-BBEE Commission showed the share of black-owned businesses in the economy had decreased to 29.5% in 2021, from 31% in 2020. Additionally, the share of black management control had declined to 51.6%, from 57% in 2020.

“This situation cannot continue, and action must be taken. We cannot allow the hard-won economic gains made since 1994 to be further lost by allowing a culture of fear and mistrust of black business people to reside in our society, or by continuing this siege on black excellence.

“Black business people cannot automatically be assumed to be guilty of wrongdoing for actions and behaviours that are otherwise normal in the course of business. They must be allowed to enjoy the same legal rights as other citizens to protect their privacy, property and reputations,” Cebekhulu-Makhaza said.

Timeline Graphic: Supplied.