The SABC lacked good news judgment but was not guilty of bias for failing to air footage of Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka being heckled at a Woman’s Day rally last month, an internal inquiry set up by the broadcaster has found, writes Ron Derby in Business Day.
The probe also highlighted poor communications and bad corporate governance within the SABC.
The findings were made public yesterday, a week after SABC CEO and editor-in-chief Dali Mpofu constituted the inquiry, following fierce criticism by political parties and civic organisations.
Mpofu appointed Prof Guy Berger of Rhodes University and Tlharesang Mkhwanazi, a commissioner at the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of SA, to the inquiry.
They found SABC freelance cameraman Sanjay Singh was responsible for the nonbroadcast of the incident.
Yesterday, MD of SABC news and current affairs Snuki Zikalala said the freelance cameraman had acted on his own accord and decided the Mlambo-Ngcuka jeering was not newsworthy.
“He did not even have the decency to tell us what happened,” Zikalala said.
Mpofu said the SABC had sent out contradictory statements.
Initially, the SABC said Singh arrived late for the incident, only for rival broadcaster e.tv to flight footage of Singh filming the incident.
As a result, Mpofu has asked SABC spokesman Paul Setsetse to take leave, pending “further investigations”.
The inquiry blamed problems within the communications department as the main cause of the mixed signals.
“I have to address them. We have to improve. As a new CEO, it is good that systematic problems have shown themselves early on,” Mpofu said.
On the issue of poor corporate governance, the commission said Setsetse had been put in the invidious position of communicating directly with the board on the matter and then “acting speedily to oblige in a situation where he was unable to gauge the CEO’s position”.
Click here to read the full report, posted on Business Day's website.
Phumzile: SABC cleared of bias – news24.com