Cosatu, SACP threaten Zuma action against SABC

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) and South African Communist Party in KwaZulu-Natal have warned of mass action against the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) in the next two weeks over its coverage of axed former deputy president Jacob Zuma.

They are unhappy, among other things, at the SABC’s apparent banning of a song about Zuma by Ingane Zoma.

They have the support of the South African National Civics Organisation, the African National Congress Youth League and the Young Communists’ League in KwaZulu-Natal, Cosatu’s provincial office said on Monday.

”We have been monitoring, and observed with dismay, shock and disgust the treatment [of] comrade Jacob Zuma and issues pertaining to him done by the so-called public broadcaster,” it said.

The SABC censored its interview with Zuma as the newsmaker of the year and has displayed bias in its coverage of his trial, Cosatu charged.

It further condemned the SABC for not covering the heckling of Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka during a visit to National Women’s Day celebrations at Utrecht, and the Youth Day celebrations in KwaMashu.

”We have therefore forwarded a letter of demand for answers to SABC in KwaZulu-Natal, in particular on Ukhozi FM.”

The song in question was, according to a report in Beeld on Monday, removed from the station’s playlist after complaints about its pro-Zuma lyrics. However, the station said it had not been banned and could still be played by radio DJs not bound to the playlist.

SABC group chief executive Dali Mpofu said on Monday night that he had yet to see the letter.

”The allegations have no foundation. It is an emotional reaction,” he said, adding that once he had seen the letter he would respond to the appropriate Cosatu structures.

”If they want to come discuss the issue with us, our doors are always open,” he said.

Zuma goes on trial for rape on February 13. The National Prosecuting Authority has released strict accreditation requirements for journalists wishing to attend the trial.

On Monday, the Durban High Court heard that the state violated Zuma’s rights to privacy and silence when the Scorpions raided his homes last year, Business Day reported.

Attorney Michael Hulley argued for the return of documents seized during controversial raids on Zuma’s and his own homes and offices in August last year.

Zuma was in court but remained impassive during the proceedings. Police barred most people who tried from entering the court, and only a handful of journalists were initially granted access.

The case continues.

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