Indeed, it doesn’t add up



JOURNALISTS who prune facts from news incidents to cover up their incompetence normally end up with egg on their faces when their stories fail to “add up”.That other tabloid is enduring a torrid time trying to make sense of the April 22 incident at State House after it tried to sound sophisticated by dismissing “coup attempt” suspicions.

Remember how the paper allowed its debt-ridden barrister to put together a shallow column rubbishing the Lesotho Times for reporting that the State House attack by those uninitiated bandits “was believed to be an attempted coup”.It was not long before key witnesses started confirming the Lesotho Times’ chronology of events — word for word — forcing the tabloid to scramble to undo the damage.

Last week the paper complained that the “Coup story pieces don’t add up” but not before they “exclusively revealed” what others had already written almost two months ago.It was a pathetic attempt to undo the damage caused by that disgraced solicitor who was obviously bitter that he had been caught napping on April 22 and lost the story.When he finally woke up from his slumber, the barrister tried to cover lost ground by alleging that a competitor had “sensationalised” the story he had missed.But the scribe who was appointed to clean the solicitor’s mess did an even shoddier job.His story so dismally failed to add up that Scrutator could only think that he had been forced to gather the lawyer’s mess with his bare hands. 

The ex-combatant could not tell head or tail of the story.How else can he explain the patent lie that the “drama involved a group of around 10 hired hands”.Seven plus four plus two plus one gives us 14.Seven were arrested in South Africa, four were shot dead and two were caught like rats in Maseru while the chief suspect, Mashai, is in a Pretoria prison.Surely that does not come to 10 no matter how the boys at the helm of the paper try to reconfigure the equation.Police say the mercenaries were probably 19.Indeed, the pieces don’t add up.How can they add up when the writer says two suspects in Maseru were denied bail and they “are set to re-appear on May 18” in a story he wrote on June 12? 

Those in the disgraceful business of copying and pasting stories from the Internet must read them thoroughly before passing them as their own to avoid such embarrassing boobs.In the same edition the tabloid boldly claimed that “62 Basotho perish in mine disaster”.

When Scrutator’s colleagues checked on Tuesday, Lesotho High Commission representative Sethunya Koqo said 46 of the 91 bodies identified so far were Basotho.Only a sorcerer can tell where the tabloid discovered the figure 62.And by Tuesday this week that story remained a blue lie.It simply didn’t add up.As usual I expect the same old boring defence that they stand by their story.It takes guts to stand by and defend such rotten copy.

 Perhaps because the Friday paper cannot take it anymore the scribes are now transferring the rotten copy to the Monday edition. That sports reporter who scaled Thabana-Ntlenyana to announce that he had been “awarded” a chance to be part of a Fifa workshop in South Africa was at it again, this time round waffling in a column.

His instructors will be angry that despite the training he received in Johannesburg the scribe does not know the correct name of the soccer tournament that is currently happening in South Africa.It’s called the FIFA Confederations Cup and not the “FIFA Confederation Cup” as he said in his column. Surely David Legge and his colleagues must have mentioned this during the classes.Next time, FIFA might not “select” you. 

 Still on the Welkom mining disaster, Scrutator is shocked that apart from a mere statement from South Africa’s minister of mines, Jacob Zuma’s government has been largely reluctant to raise a finger to try and rescue the trapped illegal miners.They are busying themselves with counting bodies while the illegal miners die like flies underground.

Harmony Gold, owner of the disused Eland Shaft where the zama-zama miners perished, has refused to have its workers in the rescue operation saying the shaft is dangerous. As the death toll rises, the South African government seems content only to watch.Is it because only a handful of South Africa’s citizens are suspected to have died in the disaster?So far we know that the majority of those who died are Basotho, Zimbabweans and Tanzanians.

How uncouth can a neighbour be?The inane explanation we get is that those people were involved in an illegal mining operation so no one wants to risk their life to rescue them.It’s like saying a government should not rescue a pirate ship if it hits troubled waters in the high seas because it was on a hijack mission.Or that an injured bank robber must be denied medical attention.

What really irritates Scrutator is that South Africa’s self-glorifying media has not said a word about this callous behaviour from their government.It reminds me of last year’s xenophobic attacks when more than 60 foreigners were murdered by those illiterate mobs from the shacks they call homes.

A year on, just a handful of those murderers have been brought to court while the rest are roaming the streets like they don’t have human blood on their hands.A foreigner’s life is indeed cheap in Mzansi.

With neighbours like that who needs enemies?

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