Parliament, Wednesday 15 November 2017 – Parliament wishes to register its extreme concern about the astonishingly vitriolic attack on the Presiding Officers of Parliament by Cape Town Press Club secretary Mr Donwald Pressly.
“What is so important about ANC thugs wanting to advertise their press conference which is NOT our function”, asked Mr Pressly in one of a series of Whatsapp messages in reply to a request that he alert the club members about a mid-term report briefing on the work of the fifth Parliament. National Assembly Speaker Ms Baleka Mbete and National Council of Provinces Chairperson Ms Thandi Modise were to address the briefing
Mr Pressly’s livid refusal to let the Press Club members know about the briefing was unwarranted and at odds with the club’s stated objectives – “to promote the professional, social and other interests of Cape Town's Press, media and communications industries, and thereby to endeavour to enhance, uphold and defend the fundamental rights of freedom of speech, conscience and association, principles secured in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa.”
The Cape Town Press Club prides itself on being the oldest such club in South Africa – established, as it says, in 1975 for free speech. Given its history and the fact that several of its members report on Parliament and have been allocated office space by Parliament in the precinct, it is reasonable to expect the club to take Mr Pressly to task for his unwarranted derogatory remarks about the national legislature’s leadership.
It would be regrettable, indeed, if the impression was to be created that Mr Pressly’s hostility is shared by other members of the club.
ISSUED BY THE PARLIAMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA
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