The CEO of the state broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), has initiatied “an internal process” to review all facts and events surrounding the August 9 footage and news coverage of the booing incident involving Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.
In a statement on Monday, spokesperson Lesego Mncwango said CEO and editor-in-chief advocate Dali Mpofu will “directly oversee a review” of all facts and events around the matter.
“Given the high public interest and urgency of the matter, the review will be speedy. A statement will be issued to the public once the process is concluded,” said Mncwango.
The SABC initially claimed that it did not air the jeering of Mlambo-Ngcuka at a Women’s Day rally in KwaZulu-Natal because its crew arrived late. But then e.tv showed the state broadcaster’s cameraman busy filming proceedings.
The state broadcaster did not comment but it later unreservedly apologised to the public for not airing the footage. Mlambo-Ngcuka was booed by fans of former deputy president Jacob Zuma.
On Monday, African Christian Democratic Party communications spokesperson Selby Khumalo expressed his concern around the issues of objective reporting at the SABC.
“Reports in the media have raised concerns on whether the news was censored and framed so as to create a particular political reality,” Khumalo said.
The question has to be asked if someone had lied about not having footage of the incident involving the deputy president, he said.
“As a party, we have continuously said that a public broadcaster has a duty to the citizens of our young democracy to report objectively particularly in news and current affairs,” he said.
Khumalo also said Mpofu’s integrity and honesty is being tested.
“The ACDP does not want to see a Zanu-PF-type public broadcaster in South Africa,” he said, referring to the Zimbabwean ruling party, which has shut down most independent media in that country.