A political satire programme that the SABC has twice cancelled before
its imminent broadcast was such a hit on the internet yesterday that it
nearly jammed a website, writes Jocelyn Newmarch in Business Day.

The video was posted on the Mail & Guardian’s website and was downloaded 3500 times by 2.30pm. On Tuesday night the SABC backed off airing the Special Assignment episode on political satire.

“It has almost brought the site down due to the number of hits we’re getting,” said M&G Online technical manager Jason Norwood-Young.

The documentary appears on the website without narration or voiceover, suggesting that it may not be the final version. It has interviews with Zapiro cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro and African National Congress (ANC) spokeswoman Jessie Duarte.

Significantly, it shows a Zapiro cartoon of then- ANC president Jacob Zuma about to rape a depiction of Lady Justice while she is being held down by his political allies. The cartoon unleashed a storm of controversy at the time of its publication, mainly as Zuma was involved in a court bid to have his corruption charges dropped.

In defence of the cartoon, Zapiro said: “Many of the things I had said in that cartoon had been said in print for months … but when that image appeared all hell broke loose.”

Zapiro is being sued by Zuma for libel. Zuma contended the cartoons were an attack on his dignity. Duarte appeared to defend Zuma’s legal action and his large claim for damages.

Click here to read the full report, posted on Business Day's website.