Picture: @MYANC/Twitter

Johannesburg - The ANC has called on the SABC to give it more airtime than other political parties, as it enjoyed more voter support from South Africans. ANC National Working Committee member Zizi Kodwa presented the party’s submission in Johannesburg where the SABC is holding a commission of inquiry into political interference at the public broadcaster.

While Kodwa’s submission dealt with the call for balanced reporting and conflation between the party and the state, he used the hearings to call on the SABC to increase airtime for the ANC.

Speaking to the media on the sidelines of the inquiry, Kodwa said ahead of next year’s general elections, the governing party was expecting the SABC to give it airtime that was reflective of the 62% it secured in the previous elections.

“The ANC enjoys 62%. How that gets carried out, that is something that in terms of editorial news also - one way or another - it must show. For example, we are going to elections and we are not 6%, so the issue of equity does not mean we must get equal opportunity,” he said.

“That is why in Parliament parties are not given equal time, but they are all given time to speak. It is recognition that it is an expression of the will of the people,” he said. Kodwa also said broadcasters often conflated the party and the state, adding that ministers who were given airtime were considered to be speaking on behalf of the ANC.

“They speak to the minister and speak to other political parties and they omit the ANC. Ministers do not speak on behalf of the ANC. The ANC’s official voice must always be added because ministers do not represent the ANC. They are ministers of state and not ministers of the ANC. We will continue to raise these issues as part of protecting this independence and impartial editorial policy,” Kodwa said.

The former ANC spokesperson also hailed the work of the commission, saying it was part of the rectification process in the institution, which was plunged into chaos and instability under then controversial chief operations officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng, who decreed the non-coverage of violent service delivery protests.

“For the first time in 2016 we issued a statement, having seen some of the managerial decisions that in our view almost undermined the editorial independence of the SABC in terms of news. The broadcaster is the biggest information provider, and therefore we should protect it against influence, be it political or commercial,” Kodwa said.

Political Bureau