Following reports of news site Daily Maverick’s alleged financially sponsored smear campaign against politicians, the Economic Freedom Fighters has urged more journalists to come forward with more information on the matter.
In a series of social media posts on Tuesday, the publication’s former contributor Modibe Modiba alleged he and other students were paid weekly stipends to write negative stories about individuals including Dan Matjila, EFF leaders and Iqbal Survé.
People keep asking me if I’ve stopped writing and that they no longer see my articles on Daliy Maverick (especially) & other publications. My reason is that for eg I’d be called to write a negative article abt @IqbalSurve and bo Dan Matjila but when i ask for proof they never pic.twitter.com/Zbpp27EmCv
— Modibe Modiba (@mmodiba10) March 3, 2020
Daily Maverick editor-in-chief Branko Brkic told IOL that although the publication published Modiba’s articles, it never paid him and other students to smear politicians.
He was quoted as saying: “We have published a few columns of Mr Modiba, and have no idea what he’s basing his claims on. I would appreciate [it] if he, or you, could provide any shred of evidence for these insane claims.”
The publication said it would take legal action against Modiba as well as IOL.
— Daily Maverick (@dailymaverick) March 4, 2020
Daily Maverick was barred from attending the EFF’s elective conference at Nasrec last year.
The EFF said it was not surprised by the allegations.
It said in a statement: “It was an operative of the Daily Maverick that resorted to digging through the dustbins of EFF leaders in an attempt to find anything that may compromise its leadership.
“We welcome the revelation of what we have always known and hope that more individuals will be brave enough to expose this unit as the corrupt political weapon it is.”
The EFF has been particularly critical of the publication since its investigative journalist Pauli van Wyk’s investigations that detailed Julius Malema and Floyd Shivambu’s alleged payments from the now liquidated VBS Mutual Bank.
In her reports, Van Wyk described this money as the “proceeds of crime” and that both men would have known this while participating in the alleged scheme involving Shivambu’s brother and Malema’s cousin through a network of front companies.
Malema denied there was any truth to her story, while the EFF itself continued to defend its leaders.
Shivambu also denied the allegations, saying the journalist was “desperate for relevance”.
“Good luck with your wild goose chase,” he said.
Last year, the publication came under fire after a report that detailed the party’s visit to Cape Town, including what was in some of its members’ trash, which it claimed was left out in the streets.
Responding to Marianne Thamm’s report, Malema made a joke of the fact that among the items found were used and unused condoms.
“After they’ve gone through used condoms, they’re going to start peeping through windows to see how many rounds you last in bed.
“Look at how daring this white woman is. You know, a used condom, wrapped in a packet, can you imagine opening that?”
(Background reporting, Daniel Friedman)