The SABC on Wednesday reversed its decision not to air an interview with Julius Malema.
The corporation aired the controversial interview with the Economic Freedom Fighters leader after an uproar.
During the interview, Question Time host Mpho Tsedu asked Malema about his party’s views on black economic empowerment and insinuated that the EFF leader was also a BEE beneficiary.
Malema denied this, saying the Sandton house he lived in was bought for him by his ANC comrades while he was still ANC Youth League president.
He dismissed claims that the donors had benefited from government projects in Limpopo.
The EFF had threatened to lodge a complaint against the SABC with the Independent Communications Authority of SA after the public broadcaster allegedly refused, initially, to air the interview.
Malema was invited for a pre-recorded interview with the SABC’s 24-hour news channel on Tuesday. The invitation came after Malema announced his party’s parliamentary candidates on Monday.
EFF spokesman Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said Malema accepted the invitation and went to the SABC studios on Tuesday morning.
Ndlozi said an SABC staff member went to both Tsedu and Malema during the interview and told them that there was an instruction to stop it and that it would not be broadcast.
Ndlozi said Malema was informed through an SMS by Tsedu later that day that the broadcast had been canned.
He said Tsedu wrote in his SMS: “The interview was scheduled to go on air on Thursday at 17:30 as I had mentioned to you. However, that won’t be the case. I want to apologise for the inconvenience I have caused as a result of this ‘no-show’ today. Mpho.”
Hours before the show was aired on Wednesday, SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago defended the move to can the interview - although the decision was later reversed.
“In as far as the recorded interview, we have recorded the interview and we will broadcast (it) at a later stage. It must be noted that (election-period broadcasts are) regulated and we have already given EFF more time than required.”
He dismissed the EFF’s allegations that they had been banned by the SABC: “It is not true that we have banned EFF from the SABC. During this time of elections, we are used to such comments as all political parties are trying to get more coverage from us.”