A conflict of interest has been dug out of the bottom of a trash can in Camps Bay. But what started out as a debate on “champagne socialism” has become something of an inquiry into journalistic ethics. Needless to say, the EFF are raging with the Daily Maverick following their latest article that takes aim at the red berets – and their H&M purchases.
Veteran reporter Marianne Thamm did a bit of “dumpster diving” following the second SONA of the year in June. She tracked down an entourage of EFF members to a residency they had rented in the plush Camps Bay suburb of Cape Town during the event.
EFF Camps Bay stay comes under scrutiny
What she literally called “trash journalism” ended up finding a lot of empty alcohol bottles (of the pricey variety) and receipts from stores such as Zara and H&M – the latter of which was subject to intense backlash from the EFF following the now-infamous “racist hoodie advert” of 2018.
Thamm reasoned that this lavish night of partying was the total opposite of the values the party had been preaching. The luxury villa, the expensive booze and apparent endorsement of H&M was, in her book, in contravention of the party’s manifesto. But not everyone has been impressed by this act of snooping.
Right or wrong?
Senior media figures have Tweeted their opposition to her methods. Aldrin Sampear, one of eNCA‘s most well-known reporters, labelled the investigation as “shocking” – an opinion which Julius Malema retweeted onto his timeline:
This is really shocking … in an era when journalists are constantly being attacked this just gives those who attack us more ammunition. What do used condoms do in public discourse? https://t.co/DMN6rILE6J— Aldrin Sampear (@AldrinSampear) July 3, 2019
EFF react to “trash journalism”
We decided to stick our head above the parapet and talk to the EFF about the allegations. However, Secretary General Godrich Gardee was in no mood to even entertain the report. When given a chance to set the record straight, the party executive abruptly declined, slamming the standards of journalism in South Africa.
It would seem the EFF had pre-empted some elements of Thamm’s article, too. During a press briefing on Tuesday, Julius Malema made reference to both H&M and “flavoured condoms”:
- “When you go to H&M and push those things over, and people want to condemn you – what is that based on? You must not be told by the enemy what is right. H&M now have more black management and models. Thanks to us and what we did. “
- “Whether we use flavoured condoms or eat boneless fish – we get told it’s ‘against communism’. AmaBhunghane must know we’ve been here before. No court and no media will silence us.”
Gardee’s curt reaction over the phone was understandable. There’s an argument that the EFF were unfairly targeted. Although they may still have questions to answer regarding other ongoing issues, it seems Thamm’s “detective work” is something still frowned upon in this country.