Petty journalism of the worst kind

Published Jun 14, 2022


Masibongwe Sihlahla - Independent Writer

Ismail Lagardien and the Daily Maverick (DM) know no bounds in descending to new lows in their spiteful, vindictive, and very petty attack on the person of Dr I. Survé.

At no stage has Dr I. Survé sacrificed his dignity and his integrity to launch a malicious attack on anybody, not least on someone he has never met or did not know at all.

Dr Survé is a medical doctor who has done much good in his lifetime and is a proud family man. He would never stoop so low as to impugn the dignity and reputation of anyone who has a track record of doing good in South Africa.

Without any facts to substantiate anything, Lagardien says he seeks to cast doubts into the public eye, of the many connections Dr Survé has built up during his career as a medical doctor, and the role he has played in the struggle for democracy.

It is indeed sad, that someone who purports to be a professional writer and journalist, must denigrate his own reputation by resorting to slandering the dignity of someone else, in this case, Dr. I. Survé, and shame on the Daily Maverick, for publishing this rubbish.

The Daily Maverick seem to have become the home for anyone who wants to write vindictive slander about Dr. I. Survé.

Under democracy, it does not mean we have no racism anymore, in fact we have more today than ever before. For racism to exist there must be racists. Today, it is near impossible to find anyone who voted for Apartheid. In fact, those people accused of racism will tell you how some of their best friends are black.

Today, racism has taken a more sophisticated hue, it is disguised as an attack on the persons dignity, the persons actions, and any indiscretion of any black prominent person is blown out of proportion and twisted to create the public perception that blacks are no good.

Whilst writing this, I perchance had the opportunity to ask two high school learners what they would conclude if I were to refer to them as being the “David” of the class. Independently of one another, they said it would refer to them as being the person doing good fighting against a much larger evil person.

In other words, in any situation where a person fighting a just cause is confronting an evil superior force, we can describe it as a ‘David vs Goliath story.’ This is a well-known metaphor and used in situations where there are opposing forces.

And Dr. I. Survé and his companies taking on the banks, is definitely a situation where there is good opposing the might and evil of a financial system that is not equal.

I, myself, do not know Dr. I. Survé but it is petty to mention him in the same sentence as Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

Lagardien’s intention is clear – to reduce an educated professional such as Dr I. Survé who is at the head of a large corporation, which is a major achievement for anyone, to insignificance in the eyes of the public.

There are lawyers who refuse to take on certain cases as they do not want to represent certain individuals who are known gangsters, yet you get lawyers who have no moral qualms about defending vile criminals who pay cash.

In the world of journalism, one would not have expected to see such a situation, but there it is clear, the Daily Maverick, the garbage truck of journalism against Dr. I. Survé, has no problems in publishing Ismail Lagardien’s ‘opinion.’

Doubt I would be given the same opportunity.

One of the biggest threats to our democracy is the silencing of alternative voices. Yet, this is the outcome Lagardien appears to be working towards by impugning the dignity of Dr I. Survé, who knows political freedom means nothing without financial freedom.

There can be no strategic goal or tactical gain achieved for press freedom, or responsible reporting, or democracy, through malicious assaults on the dignity of fellow human beings.

When it is a clear all-out assault on any one person, in this case, the person of Dr I. Survé, any conscientious observer would ask what is this guy, i.e., Dr I. Survé, doing right that there is this concerted effort to stop him, to denigrate him, to insult black journalism?

It all makes sense when Lagardien refers to himself as a struggling writer and an “old fart”. It just captures his mindset when someone refers to himself as an “old fart.”

Such a person is bereft of all dignity and thus cannot be expected to extend any kind of dignity to anyone else.

It is apparent that there is an immense battle behind the scenes, to silence Independent Media. The strategy to achieve this, is to continually malign the dignity of the Executive Chairman i.e., Dr I. Survé.

Ismail Lagardien has sadly proven himself to be a willing useful idiot in this regard. This is sad, as he could have left a rich legacy, but he will never be honoured by the likes of Anton Harber, who likes to portray himself as a practitioner of ethics in journalism and freedom of expression etc but at the same time, exerting gargantuan pressure directly and indirectly to silence the voice of Dr I. Survé through malicious articles.

Dr I. Survé, is however, focused on achieving real genuine broad-based economic empowerment for blacks. Is that perhaps why he is the target for their rancour?

Masibongwe Sihlahla (Independent Writer)