Former SABC CEO Jimi Matthews admits to eNCA presenter Eusebius McKaiser: 'We banned EFF and Malema coverage'

Jimi Matthews in an SABC news studio. (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)

Jimi Matthews in an SABC news studio. (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)

Former SABC chief executive officer Jimi Matthews admitted that the public broadcaster deliberately banned the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and its leader Julius Malema.

Speaking to eNCA’s Eusebius McKaiser on Sunday, Matthews said that when “Malema started to be a nuisance while he was still president of the ANC Youth League, and when the EFF launched, the view expressed by the SABC was that it would not be a good idea to give Malema airtime”.

Matthews admitted that he took the decision to censor Malema and the EFF. “I took the decision, but it was a decision bigger than Jimi Matthews, others also expressed the same view,” said Matthews.

Matthews said that certain individuals in the ruling party, including people like Hlaudi Motsoeneng, were of the view that we should not be giving Malema and his crowd coverage.

“I should have said ‘no, that’s ridiculous’ certainly, with the growing popularity around 2014 elections and if anything the EFF is out of all political parties probably the masters of the media so we should have given them a lot more coverage,” said Matthews.

Matthews resigned from the public broadcaster last week and posted his resignation letter on social media, where he apologised for his complicity in ‘unpopular’ decisions made under his leadership and that of SABC chief operating officer (COO) Motsoeneng.

Matthews told eNCA the SABC would be better off if Motsoeneng was removed from his position as COO.

Matthews has been acting in the position of CEO since Frans Matlala was suspended in November last year.

Malema said the EFF would not accept Matthews’s apology as it had warned him before to stop being biased but did not listen. 

ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa dismissed Matthews’s revelations that the ANC was behind the SABC censorship, saying he failed to name a single party leader who instructed the SABC not to cover the EFF.

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