For the record

My letter to Business Day this week, correcting a piece of misreporting.

Dear Editor,

Paul Pereira’s interesting piece on the Oppenheimer legacy in corporate social activity (Corporate charity as political intervention, August 22) stated that the Weekly Mail newspaper had been saved when his Anglo-American Corporation paid its print bill. This is not true.

Many people invested in the launch of the newspaper in 1985; Harry Oppenheimer’s R5 000 was among the more modest contributions. When the paper was threatened with closure in 1989, he was one of eight business leaders who wrote to PW Botha to say that such an action would fuel the sanctions campaign. When the paper could not pay its print bill around 1991, we negotiated a settlement with the printer, Caxtons, giving us time to pay our debts. The paper was in fact rescued in subsequent years by the Guardian of London, which is when it became the Mail & Guardian.

I hope this makes it clear that the paper’s relationship with white monopoly capital is more complicated than its critics would have it.

Anton Harber
Co-Founder, Weekly Mail/Mail& Guardian

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