The ANC this week summoned SABC executives to the party's headquarters at Luthuli House in Johannesburg to haul them over the coals for what party bosses claim is political bias, writes Edwin Naidu in the Sunday Independent.


The move has sparked strong criticism from several civil society organisations, which have condemned party interference in what is meant to be an apolitical public broadcaster.

The meeting took place in Johannesburg on Monday amid claims by the ANC top brass that the national broadcaster was favouring the Shikota party, formed by Mosiuoa Lekota and Mbhazima Shilowa.

But several organisations, including the Freedom of Expression Institute, the Save the SABC Coalition, the Media Monitoring Project and the Media Institute of South Africa, have condemned what they see as political interference by the ANC, saying it harked back to the days when the SABC was a propaganda tool of the National Party.

Gwede Mantashe, the ANC's secretary-general, and Jessie Duarte, its spokesperson, met Gab Mampone, the acting group chief executive of the SABC, and Snuki Zikalala, the corporation's managing director for news.

Mantashe and Duarte were critical of the SABC's post-Polokwane coverage of the ANC, and expressed alarm at the portrayal of Jacob Zuma, the party's leader, and anger at the lack of coverage of the government's service delivery projects.

They also said they were unhappy that, with an election only six months away, it seemed that the national broadcaster was promoting the breakaway Shikota party.

Duarte told The Sunday Independent on Saturday: "We don't want the SABC to be an ANC mouthpiece; we want them to be objective in covering all of South Africa.

"We raised issues around, for example, the coverage of the [party] president [Zuma] who, whether he talks about agriculture or economics, is always shown dancing outside the Pietermaritzburg High Court," she said.

"We are not saying we should be the only organisation covered; all we want is for the country to be covered objectively."

She said the ANC had also raised questions about journalists with political affiliations and how their affiliations affected the outcome of news stories.

Click here to read the full report, posted on