Letter to the editor

Mathatha Tsedu, chairman of Sanef, takes issue with Raymond Louw's article in Focus 23.

Sir/Madam -

In the September 2001 issue of Focus (Guardians of the public interest, page 20) Mr Raymond Louw wrote that Sanef had failed to implement a "decision" it had taken at its annual general meeting not to accede to a government request that the proceedings of the Sun City indaba be off the record.

Louw also alleged that Sanef "gave in without a whimper" when the government demanded at Sun City that the discussions be closed except for a plenary session.
Both allegations are untrue.

Sanef discussed the government's request for a closed meeting at its AGM on June 17 in Cape Town. A strong preference was voiced for the proceedings to be open. When it was pointed out that the meeting might not go ahead if Sanef insisted on open sessions, Sanef agreed on the compromise of some closed, and some open sessions. It was after all Sanef who requested to meet with government.

The relevant minutes of that meeting are attached. They were circulated after the AGM. Perhaps Louw did not read them because he has not questioned their accuracy.

The Sanef members on the preparatory committee for the Sun City meeting acted strictly in accordance with the mandate given to them at the AGM: the opening ceremony was open, we had a closed plenary session, closed break-away sessions and an open closing session.

Yours sincerely
Mathatha Tsedu
Chairperson, Sanef


Raymond Louw writes: The last item of the AGM was the issue of Sanef's public approach to the meeting with the cabinet. Following the raising of the question, Mr Tsedu himself outlined the procedure to be followed: Sanef would declare publicly that it wished to conduct the meeting in the open but if the cabinet ministers insisted on closed sessions, Sanef would concede. That was not done in public; the negotiations with the government were conducted in private.