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Calling Nkandla a compound ‘racist’

Johannesburg - The SABC’s head of news, Jimi Matthews, has forbidden news staff from referring to President Jacob Zuma’s private Nkandla property as a “homestead” or “compound” and has also banned the use of “Nkandlagate” or “Zumaville” in the public broadcaster’s reporting.

The instructions were issued to news editors in an e-mail, which The Star has seen.

President Jacob Zuma's private residence in Nkandla. File Photo: Bongiwe Mchunu. Credit: INLSA

Editorial staff were instructed “with immediate effect” that Zuma’s “Nkandla home should be referred to as the president’s, or Mr Zuma’s, “Nkandla residence”, and not a “compound” or “homestead” or “any other such term”.

Speaking to The Star on Tuesday, Matthews repeated the refrain. He said the word “compound” was a term used by white South Africans to refer to homes for “black migrant workers. It comes from our racial past [as a way of referring] to accommodation for migrant workers on the mine.”

SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago said he would not discuss the e-mail in the media as it was an internal communiqué.

He said senior SABC management and their editorial decisions were not “accountable to the public.

“There’s nothing that says because we are a public broadcaster, every meeting, everything must be on the radio for everyone to listen to,” he said.

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