2003

2003

17 February 2003: Pat Rogers goes to the BCCSA about the fact that the SABC suppressed for two weeks, the news that the Scorpions were investigating Jacob Zuma for Arms Deal corruption

2 September 2003: Business Day breaks the story that CEO Peter Matlare, an ANC acolyte of note, has attempted to suppress discussion on radio talk show programmes of the police investigation into Jacob Zuma’s involvement in the Arms Deal scandal. He does so through an instruction to radio programme managers in what became known as the “Judi Nwokedi memo” The memo instructs that any coverage of this story must first be vetted by the head of radio news, Pippa Green and the head of television news, Jimi Matthews and that the story must be confined to news bulletins. There is no indication that either Green or Matthews ever opposed this instruction

5 September 2003: The SABC, knowing that the running story of Jacob Zuma will be hotly debated in parliament pulls the plug on parliamentary broadcasts on Ukhozi FM, the country’s most listened-to radio station (6.7Million listeners) to centralize editorial control of political content under the heads of radio (Pippa Green) and television news (Jimi Matthews) respectively. The move sparked widespread condemnation from the public and some politicians. In a report in the Citizen, Inkatha Freedom Party MP Blessed Gwala argued he was concerned that the withdrawal of the programme would impact negatively on the right of the people to know what government was doing. This along with the infamous “Judi Nwokedi memo” which sought to forbid any discussion of the Zuma/Arms Deal corruption story on all radio talk show stations was part of the ANC’s attempt to deny the 30 million South Africans who rely on the SABC as their main source of news all and any information of the major news story of the day. There is no indication that either Green or Matthews opposed this censorship.

9 September 2003: President Thabo Mbeki appoints Eddie Funde as the new chairperson of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) board and Christine Qunta as the new vice-chairperson. They replace outgoing chairperson and vice-chairperson Vincent Maphai and Barbara Masekela respectively.

The other members of the board are journalist Thami Mazwai, Noluthando Gosa, human rights lawyer Ashwyn Trikamjee, sitting member Derrick Swartz, Fadielah Lagardien, Cecil Msomi, Khanyi Mkhonza (who is chairperson of the Media Development and Diversity Agency), Allison Gillwald, Andile Mbeki (apparently not directly related to President Thabo Mbeki) and Andrew Maralack.

Funde is a former South African Telecommunications Regulatory Authority councillor.

16 November 2003: Democratic Alliance shadow minister of communication, Dene Smuts, expresses concern that not a single Afrikaans person is on the new SABC board. Dr Fritz Kok who, she said, had always promoted the interests of the Afrikaans community had lost his seat on the board. This was also condemned by the Afrikaans cultural group, TABEMA. http://152.111.1.87/argief/berigte/rapport/2003/11/16/R1/4/04.html