EFF accuses SABC of banning coverage before election
The EFF has criticised the national broadcaster ahead of elections, saying it's "being manipulated by puppets". But the SABC has dismissed the claims.
The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has accused the SABC of banning EFF coverage ahead of the May 7 general election.
"As things stand, the SABC has completely banned the EFF and has also issued an official communication that the EFF will not be represented in any of the weekly elections debates," party spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said in a statement on Wednesday.
"The SABC television division is being manipulated by puppets of certain political parties to completely ban anything that has to do with the EFF on television."
The EFF said it would write to the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa), Communications Minister Yunus Carrim, and the board of the SABC to demand the immediate unbanning.
"If Icasa, the communications minister, and the SABC board do not lift the television broadcasts ban on the EFF we will approach courts to compel them to do so ... "
Ndlozi claimed SABC staff were prevented from covering the EFF's March 17 press conference to announce its election lists.
SABC dismisses claims
"We have it in good authority that the SABC crew that was supposed to cover the press conference was physically prevented from using the SABC cameras," said Ndlozi.
The following day, EFF leader Julius Malema did a pre-recorded interview with the broadcaster's channel 404 for a show called Question Time, anchored by Mpho Tsedu, but the interview was not aired.
Later, Malema allegedly received a message, which read: "Afternoon Julius. Thank you for making time this morning to talk to me on Question Time. The interview was scheduled to go on air today at 17:30 as I had mentioned to you. However, that won't be the case. I want to apologise for the inconvenience I have caused as a result of this 'no-show' today. Mpho."
Ndlozi said this was a clear message of the ban on broadcasts related to the party.
SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago dismissed the allegation.
"You know that cannot be true. You have seen them on our platforms. We are used to this at election time," he said. "Everyone wants maximum attention. All the political parties complain because they want attention from us. We will continue to do our work as we do." – Sapa