KRISTEN VAN SCHIE
JULIUS Malema is crying foul after a scheduled interview on an SABC radio station was cancelled, allegedly at the request of management.
Malema was due to be interviewed live by Metro FM’s Sakina Kamwendo last night. But on Monday, he received an SMS from the presenter, reportedly saying her bosses had instructed her not to air the interview.
Close ally and Friends of the Youth League spokesman Floyd Shivambu said the incident was “among the many instances where the SABC management, senior officials in the Presidency and the National Intelligence Agency have interfered with SABC editorial processes with the sole aim of making sure that president Julius Malema does not get coverage on matters of national and international importance.”
But SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago said there were many reasons why an interview might be cancelled and disputed that the broadcaster was taking sides: “We are not, and we will never do that.”
Kamwendo herself confirmed she was instructed to cancel the interview by her management, “though whether that instruction came from further up, I don’t know.”
She said the interview would have been about the news of the day, from Marikana to Mangaung.
“Julius Malema is very topical at the moment,” she said.
Malema has previously been interviewed on Metro FM, and even hosted an afternoon drive show in March last year, where he talked about everything but politics.
Shivambu said the “narrow-minded factionalism of protecting Jacob Zuma” would be to the detriment of the broadcaster.
“Conferences of the ANC come and go, but the broadcaster will have been turned into a ZBC [Zuma Broadcasting Corporation], who’ll soon be irrelevant in the lives of the people of South Africa,” he said.
He tied the state broadcaster’s recent “non-coverage” of Malema to statements made by SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande earlier this year.
At the SACP’s conference in July, Nzimande said “we must be ashamed of the public broadcaster” because “every day there are headlines of people expelled from our movement. You are playing a factional role.
“Auckland Park is a shame; they run headlines on renegades every morning. Soon we will have to tell them that enough is enough,” he said.
Kganyago said it was interesting that the SABC was taking fire from both sides. “Both sides are alleging that we are not covering them, which means we are doing some- thing right.”