The Office of The Executive Mayor Demands Public Apology from ENCA Senior Journalist, Mr Vuyo Mvoko, within 48 Hours, In Relation to Misreporting of State of The City Address
The Office of the Executive Mayor of the City of Ekurhuleni has noted with great disdain the misreporting by ENCA Senior Journalist, Mr. Vuyo Mvoko regarding the City of Ekurhuleni State of the City Address (SOCA) held on 18 March 2020.
In the interview, Mr. Mvoko states that Executive Mayor Masina convened the State of the City address in contravention to the gathering restrictions announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa during his declaration of a National State of Disaster on the 15 March 2020. The comments made by Mr. Mvoko are factually incorrect and malicious.
The Office of Executive Mayor would like to set the record straight with the following factual information:
- The State of the City address is convened by the Speaker of Council in terms of Rule 19, Sub-Rule 1(a) and Rule 19, Sub-Rule 2 of the Council Standing Orders. The Executive Mayor has no authority to convene such a session
- On 18 March 2020, Mr. Mvoko requested clarity as to why the City is hosting a SOCA event after the gathering restrictions imposed on Sunday by President Ramaphosa
- The Office of the Executive Mayor responded and sent Mr. Mvoko a statement issued by the Office on 15 March 2020, entitled, "Executive Mayor Masina announces precautionary measures to be taken during the SOCA"
- The Office of the Executive Mayor furthermore requested an opportunity for the City to articulate its position on the matter, to which we did not receive a response
- Council members, including the opposition, agreed to the SOCA event taking place after safety precautions were presented to the leaders of various political parties
- During the SOCA, Councillors were separated into three different Council Chambers in order to keep the number of people in all venues below 100
- The footage of a Council Meeting in the interview, was from a Council Session in 2019 and was not of the State of the City Address 2020, in which there were less than 100 people in the various venues and where social distancing protocols were applied. This was a malevolent attempt portray the City as having not introduced any measures to adhere to the prohibition of gatherings of over 100 people as declared by President Ramaphosa, and was a deliberate attempt to misinform the general public
- The public, invited guests and officials and bureaucrats (as mentioned by Mr. Mvoko) were prohibited from attending the event as they would comprise the maximum number of people allowed to gather in the allocated venues
- Extensive hygiene protocols were enforced at the SOCA event, such as compulsory hand sanitation at every entrance and exit of the OR Tambo Government Precinct
- Councillors were issued with face masks upon entering the OR Tambo Government Precinct
- Social distancing measures were applied to the seating arrangements inside the council, Councillors sat 1,5 metres apart
- The OR Tambo Government Precinct interior and exterior was repeatedly sanitised throughout the event
The Office of the Executive Mayor believes that Mr. Mvoko's comments constitute serious misconduct and is a clear breach of the South African Press Code in terms of allowing commercial, political, personal or other non-professional considerations to influence or slant reporting. To this effect, the Office of the Executive Mayor demands a public apology from Mr Mvoko within the next 48 hours. Failure to do so will result in the Office laying a formal complaint against Mr. Mvoko with the Press Ombudsman.
The Office of the Executive Mayor urges Government and the media fraternity to work together during this period of uncertainty. Our collective duty is to provide the public with credible and factual information during this National State of Disaster.
Issued by the Office of the Executive Mayor of the City of Ekurhuleni