2005

2005

7 January 2005: Richard Young successfully subpoenas the ANC government for access to arms deal documents. They show that the presidency alter the Auditor General’s report to remove damning evidence of ANC involvement in corruption. E-TV headlines the story, the SABC with Zikalala as its head of news, suppresses it.

20 January 2005: SAPA reports that CEO Peter Matlare has decided to leave the SABC. “SABC chief executive quits ‘under strain.” - The Herald

31 January 2005: Having covered the opening ceremony of an international leprosy conference on 30 January, the SABC decided not to send a camera crew the next day. This happened to be when health minister, Manto Tshabala-Msimang was giving a speech. She phoned Zikalala and demanded television news coverage to which he was happy to accede. Tshabala-Msimang kept the conference delegates waiting for an hour and a half until the SABC crew arrived. The SABC denies this account.

10 February 2005: SABC TV News head Jimi Matthews is said to be facing a disciplinary hearing for insubordination, a charge allegedly brought by head of news Snuki Zikalala.

Matthews is in trouble for commissioning the talk programme The Round Table (SABC 3 on Thursday) without Zikalala's knowledge.

He is also charged with not appointing a replacement when he took leave recently.

An insider says the SABC board is unhappy with the talk programme. It is viewed as anti- government.

10 February 2005: SABC spokesman Paul Setsetse, denies there is any friction between Zikalala and Matthews. "We take strong exception to the lies perpetuated in the media about the relationship between the MD of news Snuki Zikalala and the head of TV news, Jimi Matthews”, he said. Seven months later Setsetse resigns as a consequence of ETV revealing the extent of the Corporation’s lies about not broadcasting the footage it had of Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka being booed off the stage at a Women’s Day rally in Utrecht, KZN. Two years later, Matthews resigns after Zikalala placed him, a news man, in the sports department.

1 March 2005: The Advertising Standards Authority dismisses a complaint from the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) that e.tv's "0% propaganda" advertisement implies that the SABC's own news broadcasting is not credible.

3 March 2005: Rhoda Kadalie writes in her Business Day column that the SABC censored by omission the story about Richard Young’s court order to obtain Arms Deal documents which reveal huge ANC corruption.

29 March 2005: BCCSA upholds a complaint by the Anti-Privatisation Forum which accuses the SABC of deliberately lying in a news insert which sought to convey that the Phiri community supported the government’s plans for the installation of pre-paid water meters when in fact the community was opposed to this.

26 April 2005: Cyril Ramaphosa testifies in the Cape Town High Court in the R2.5 billion land claim by the Richtersveld community against the state-owned Alexkor’s mining operations. Ramaphosa is feared by Mbeki who believes he has presidential aspirations. Zikalala’s appointed cadre in the Western Cape regional news office, Jeffrey Twala, forbids his reporters from covering Ramaphosa’s testimony.

16 May 2005: In a public debate organised by Jane Duncan of the Freedom of Expression Institute in Johannesburg the consensus of those present was that “… the South African Broadcasting Corporation was a state apparatus whose job it was to serve the government as a 'mouthpiece'.”

Mail & Guardian editor Ferial Haffajee said there was no need to debate whether the SABC was a state or a public broadcaster, instead deriding it as "a soap opera", citing the exodus of SABC bosses - Joe Thloloe, Peter Matlare and recently Judy Nwokedi - as an example of a never-ending story.

She cried foul at the so-called political appointments - a reference to individuals such as Miranda Strydom and Snuki Zikalala landing top jobs in the newsroom.

Members of the public accused the SABC of persistently punting the government, the president and the ruling party, no matter how petty or irrelevant the subject was.

Such action served as a red herring and diverted attention from issues that were of public interest, they said.

SABC strategic corporate services CE Ihron Rensburg conceded that the process of appointing the SABC board needed an overhaul.

29 May 2005: “The SABC’s group chief executive, Peter Matlare, resigned at the end of January 2005 and the hunt is on for finding a new CEO. All the politically correct people in South Africa are vying for the job.

“Eddie Funde, chairman of the SABC board, has sparked concern among some politicians by insisting that the final recommendation of the new chief executive rests with the Cabinet and the Communications Minister, Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri.

“Which leaves South Africans with the question: who controls the SABC?” Sunday Times editorial

16 June 2005: Zikalala orders that Durban reporter Mandla Zembe be disciplined for seeking to report the truth about KZN Premier S’bu Ndebele being chased from a rally in Kwa Mashu by irate supporters of Jacob Zuma who had been removed as Deputy President by Thabo Mbeki.

1 August 2005: Dali Mpofu appointed CEO. When asked what his favourite website is he is said to have replied: “www.anc.com.”

9 August 2005: Members of the ANC Youth League, who were aggrieved because Jacob Zuma had been axed by President Thabo Mbeki, booed Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka off the stage at a Women’s Day rally in Utrecht, KZN. The SABC televised the rally but did not feature the booing. ETV did.

25 August 2005: the SABC lies saying the freelance cameraman, Sanjay Singh, had not filmed the booing of Mlambo-Ngcuka. This is shown to be a lie when e.tv broadcasts its own footage showing Singh filming the booing.

7 September 2005: The SABC is effectively cleared by two commissioners of bias and wrongdoing over the Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka “booing” incident—because it says that it did not get the footage from the freelance cameraman. Cameraman Sanjay Singh says that this is a lie. The FXI questions the veracity of the finding.

9 September 2005: SABC spokesman Paul Setsetse resigns as a consequence of ETV revealing the extent of the Corporation’s lies about not broadcasting the footage it had of Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka being booed off the stage at a Women’s Day rally in Utrecht, KZN.

10 December 2005: SABC board member Noluthando Gosa resigns after accusing her fellow board members of tolerating widespread corruption at the public broadcaster. She forwarded her letter of resignation to President Thabo Mbeki, Minister of Communications Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri and the chairperson of the parliamentary portfolio committee on communications, Mpetjane Lekgoro.

Gosa also forwarded a 13-page dossier to Auditor General Shauket Fakie, detailing the corporate governance failures that she felt needed to be investigated

Her efforts came to nothing as there was no response and the SABC was ultimately bankrupted and hundreds of people in the film industry were driven out of the profession because the SABC could not pay them for programmes already broadcast and did not commission new ones.

19 December 2005: Jacob Zuma writes to Dali Mpofu to complain about the last-minute cancellation by the SABC of a scheduled interview after Zuma was declared news maker of the year by the Pretoria Press Club – the letter is posted on the Friends of Jacob Zuma website.