A recent Twitter uproar, senior foreign affairs spokesperson Clayson Monyela slammed journalists for what he called bringing shame to journalism by exposing the extravagant spending on President Cyril Ramaphosa’s overseas trips. Monyela’s outrage was sparked by a News24 story revealing that catering on an SA Air Force jet for one of Ramaphosa’s journeys cost a staggering R24,000 per person.
Expressing his frustration, Monyela questioned, How is it so easy for someone to just issue an instruction to attack, rubbish, and throw mud at government and its leaders? He further added, Now a president should answer for a department of defense-managed aircraft’s menu prices? We know it’s a reaction to South Africa’s posture on the Israel-Hamas war. You guys are bringing shame to journalism.
Monyela’s response highlights the growing intolerance within the ANC towards public revelations of excessive spending. This comes at a time when a distressing report revealed that 116 children in the Eastern Cape starved to death due to a lack of government funds for their nutrition.
Contrary to Monyela’s criticism, journalists argue that exposing the elite’s excesses is an essential part of the democratic process. The call remains for those with evidence to the contrary to make it public.