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Duarte was reportedly happy to oblige at first, but after a few minutes she made a dramatic about-turn: she would not allow Manyathela to air the recording she had just agreed to. Her reason? EWN is the sister station of 702, and “702 is owned by people who have historically hated the ANC”.

Apart from the absurdity of an interviewee refusing to comment after having commented, this raised an interesting problem. If Duarte and the ANC think that criticism is hatred, and want to ignore or silence anyone who criticises them, what’s the plan for the millions and millions of South Africans who genuinely do dislike them quite a lot? Are they just going to ignore them? And if so, how is that different from standard ANC service delivery?

It was a small story, but given the almost total silence and invisibility of Cyril Ramaphosa and Mmusi Maimane, and the EFF doing nothing but threatening to hold its breath until the grown-ups let it stay up late, it stood out as an important reminder of how we are still teetering on a knife edge, still undecided whether we will choose cautious progress or topple back into the despair of the Zuma era. Earlier this week, EWN’s Clement Manyathela approached the ANC's deputy secretary-general, Jessie Duarte, and asked her to elaborate on statements, reported by the Sunday Times, implying she believed that Tony Yengeni should never have been jailed.Duarte was reportedly happy to oblige at first, but after a few minutes she made a dramatic about-turn: she would not allow Manyathela to air the recording she had just agreed to. Her reason? EWN is the sister station of 702, and “702 is owned by people who have historically hated the ANC”. Apart from the absurdity of an interviewee refusing ...

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