The opposition DA claims the SABC had advance knowledge that last Tuesday’s late-night statement by President Cyril Ramaphosa on land expropriation without compensation would be made in his capacity as ANC president and not as the president of South Africa.
The party’s Phumzile van Damme said on Tuesday: “The SABC knew the address was of a party-political nature but still chose to broadcast it as ‘President Ramaphosa addresses the nation’, creating the impression that he was addressing South Africa in his capacity as state president and not ANC president.”
She claimed it was only after “public uproar” that the SABC changed it to “ANC President makes a special address”.
She claimed they had it on “good authority” that statement by Ramaphosa was prepacked by the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) and distributed to a number of media houses.
“This further reveals the ANC’s abuse of a state institution for party-political purposes.”
She said the SABC needed to answer the following questions.
- From whom was the statement by the ANC president received?
- Who authorised the GCIS to package and distribute the content to media houses?
- Who at the SABC, after viewing the content, made the decision to interrupt regular programming and air it?
- Who made the decision to describe it as an address by President Ramaphosa as state president?
- Who made the decision to later change it to a “special address” by the ANC president?
The DA on Tuesday had given the SABC until midnight on Wednesday to air a message from the leader of the opposition, Mmusi Maimane, on the topic of land reform.
“The clip has been sent it to the SABC,” Van Damme confirmed on Tueaday.
“It is against the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa’s (BCCSA) Code of Conduct for the public broadcaster to accept a packaged video from a political party, to interrupt normal programming to air the recording, and then deny opposition parties the opportunity to do the same.
“The clock is ticking and if the SABC is as impartial as they claim, they will air the clip sent to them by the DA by midnight tomorrow.”