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Johannesburg - The SABC's last-minute cancellation of a MetroFM discussion on the upcoming ANC national elective conference was widely criticised on Wednesday.
Democratic Alliance communications spokeswoman, MP Marian Shinn, called for SABC chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng to be removed from his “news oversight role”.
“While, at this stage, there is no confirmation that he had a direct hand in pulling the MetroFM show at the last minute, he bears the responsibility for the news operation and its current trend of nurse-maiding the reputation of President Jacob Zuma,” Shinn said in a statement.
She criticised Motsoeneng for the SABC's decision to stop using the terms “Nkandlagate” and “compound” when referring to President Jacob Zuma's Nkandla residence, and for not running a Fish and Chip Company advert featuring a cartoon version of Zuma.
Shinn said she would ask the SABC board to remove Motsoeneng.
Congress of the People MP Juli Kilian also criticised the decision to pull the advert and argued it violated the law.
“In the absence of an acceptable explanation and appropriate corrective action, Cope will bring the matter to (Independent Communications Authority of South Africa) for a formal investigation into a breach of the public broadcaster’s licence conditions,” Kilian said in a statement.
She said if the SABC board did not “rein in its senior management” the party would insist on the dismissal of the board next year.
Motsoeneng told reporters the show was pulled because it should have invited a representative from the ANC to participate. Shinn dismissed this explanation.
“Since when must an actuality programme between recognised senior journalists be moderated by the presence of an ANC political deployee? Surely this is not the Kremlin,” she said.
The ANC Youth League called the cancellation of the interviews “tragic” and “censorship”.
“The (SABC) consistently fails to uphold objectivity in the execution of its mandate, and has become a ridiculous pawn in the political theatre they are expected to impartially report on,” the youth league said in a statement.
The league called on the SABC to provide “fair and objective reporting” ahead of Mangaung.
The Cape Town Press Club said in a statement: “We are deeply disturbed by this apparent example of blatant censorship, something which is an insult to the public’s right to know.” - Sapa