Complaints against the South African Broadcasting Corporation are
piling up following the launch of a breakaway political party from the
ANC, led by Mosiuoa Lekota and Mbhazima Shilowa, writes Dominc Mahlangu in The Times.

The Times has established that a scheduled interview of ANC president Jacob Zuma by SABC radio station Metro FM was nearly cancelled on Monday, following objections by a senior executive manager.

The executive, whose name is known to The Times, is said to have raised concerns about Zuma’s interview and tried to pull the plug, but the attempts failed and the interview continued as scheduled.

The executive could not be reached for comment yesterday.

SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago said: “There is no truth to the allegation that we wanted to stop the Metro FM interview with Zuma.”

But sources confirmed that the interview was nearly cancelled as the executive accused Metro FM of not following the broadcaster’s editorial code of practice when deciding on hosting Zuma. The controversy has not been the only one to hit the SABC since Lekota and Shilowa announced that they will be forming a new party.

The ANC announced on Monday that it was taking the public broadcaster to the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa for alleged bias in the new party’s favour. This stems from the SABC’s coverage of the national convention that was organised by the two politicians in Sandton last Saturday.

ANC MP Khotso Khumalo said the broadcaster had failed to give the ANC the right to respond to accusations levelled against it by those attending the convention.

He also complained that the convention had been covered by the SABC for the whole day while a Zuma rally, held the next day, was not broadcast in full.

Icasa will also have to deal with UDM leader Bantu Holomisa’s complaint about the SABC’s coverage of the Zuma rally.

Holomisa, who walked out during a live TV interview on Sunday after the broadcaster interrupted the programme to cross to Zuma’s address in Soweto, said the SABC was a “serial offender” and was “biased” in its news coverage in favour of the ANC.

Icasa spokesman Josias Mathibe said the body had not yet received complaints from Holomisa, the ANC or any organisation regarding the SABC and the Lekota coverage.

Click here to read the full report, posted on The Times website.