/ 22 October 2008

Chair collapse turns Nene into web celebrity

A sudden chair collapse, broadcast live on television, has turned parliamentary finance portfolio committee chairperson Nhlanhla Nene into an instant internet celebrity.

On Wednesday morning, Nene was being interviewed live in studio by presenter Hayde Fitzpatrick on SABC2’s parliamentary review programme A View from the House.

Halfway through answering one of Fitzpatrick’s questions, a loud crack was heard and Nene seemed to feel his chair moving under him.

Seconds later, he tumbled to the ground behind the desk as the chair collapsed completely.

By Thursday, a short video clip of the incident had made its way on to internet video-sharing websites YouTube and Zoopy, as well as social networking website Facebook.

The clip had been viewed almost 1 000 times by late Thursday afternoon on Zoopy, and close to 3 400 times on YouTube.

”The incident was totally unforeseeable and was an accident,” the South African Broadcasting Corporation said in a statement. ”Mr Nene must be applauded for having been a true professional, as he carried on with the interview after a short ad break.”

The SABC added: ”The presenter and crew also handled the situation with real professionalism, as the presenter apologised and their reaction was one of concern when it happened.”

The SABC has formally apologised to Nene, and said that ”all necessary precautions are being put in place to avoid a similar incident”.

View the video