2006

2006

15 January 2006: The DA, concerned that the SABC is not going to give it equitable coverage in the run-up to the 2006 elections hires an independent company to monitor the SABC’s television coverage of its events and those of the ANC: “From its campaign launch on 15 January through to its final election message on 28 February, the DA’s election campaign consisted of 34 events. The SABC television gave no coverage, on any of its news bulletins, to 16 out the 34 of these election events. SABC 1 did not cover 24 out of 34 DA election events, SABC 2 did not cover 19 out of 34 DA election events. SABC 3 did not cover 21 out of 34 DA election events. Key events not covered included the DA’s Western Cape election launch on 21 January, the DA’s alternative state of the nation event on 2 February and the DA’s public meeting in District Six on 8 February.

“In contrast, the SABC gave no coverage to 11 out of the ANC’s 34 events. However, whereas the DA’s election campaign lasted 44 days, the ANC’s only went on for 11. The ANC was covered every single day it campaigned, on every single station. Those events that were not covered were often ANCYL events and constituted the third or fourth ANC event held on a particular day. The other two or three events were covered. All of the ANC President’s events were carried, extensively, without exception.” http://www.da.org.za/docs/547/HisMastersVoice_document.pdf

16 February 2006: News 24 reports that, in an echo of the SABC’s apartheid past, the Corporation has decided to remove the title track, “Msholozi” a song in praise of Zuma by Izingane Zoma, a traditional maskandi group, from the playlist of its Zulu-language Ukhozi FM radio. The song praised Zuma and called for him to be elected president in place of Mbeki and for this reason, the SABC, with Mbeki acolytes like Christine Qunta and Snuki Zikalala, having significant influence, effectively banned it

21 May 2006: City Press reveals that political interference from the ANC lay behind an SABC decision not to broadcast a commissioned documentary, Unauthorised: Thabo Mbeki by Ben Cashdan and Redi Direko:

City Press has learnt that the 24minute documentary that charts Mbeki's rise to power and his survival in the cut-throat ANC political environment at a time when he was pitted against Chris Hani and Cyril Ramaphosa, was withdrawn at the last minute due to political interference from the public broadcaster's management.

The withdrawal came after one of its producers had an informal meeting with a senior official from Mbeki's communications department. She was allegedly told it would be better to stop the screening because the Presidency was opposed to it.

City Press has been told that SABC management was worried about the timing of the documentary. It would have been shown barely two weeks after Jacob Zuma was acquitted of rape and amid thinly-veiled allegations that Mbeki was behind his woes. http://152.111.1.87/argief/berigte/citypress/2006/05/21/C1/1/01.html

10 June 2006: SABC gags independent film-makers Broad Daylight Films from even talking about the public broadcaster's canning of their unauthorised documentary on President Thabo Mbeki.

The documentary was advertised to be broadcast on SABC3 on May 17, but was cancelled at the 11th hour.

A carefully worded statement this week from the film's producers, Redi Direko and Ben Cashdan, said they had been "instructed by the SABC's lawyers not to discuss the Thabo Mbeki documentary any further and to hand over any copies in our possession".

June 2006: Zikalala and Mpofu launch a programme In the Public Interest to counter what it says are attacks on the SABC by the print media – an ironic echo of the apartheid-era SABC programme with the same intentions – Current Affairs

SABC launches show to blast print media

Insert taken from eMedia.

Under-fire public broadcaster SABC has launched a new current affairs programme In the Public Interest to take the media, especially print, to task over unfair and inaccurate reporting.

“Just like print criticises us, we will able to criticise them,” says Snuki Zikalala, head of news and current affairs at the SABC.

“It (the programme) focuses on the media as a whole which is important because of the role that it plays in society. Whatever the media writes, it needs to be fair and accurate because all the things they write, they say they are doing them in the public interest, yet they are not always telling the truth,” says Zikalala.

CEO Dali Mpofu denied that the launch of the show was an attempt at damage control following a credibility row over the SABC’s apparent blacklisting of certain commentators seen as critical of the government. The public broadcaster also recently canned an unauthorised documentary about President Thabo Mbeki.

“Having said that, there could not have been a better time to launch the show because the public broadcaster has been under a lot of scrutiny recently and it needs to have a programme like this one so that we can also scrutinise the media, especially print,” says Mpofu.

“We should let the public know that there are no holy cows in this industry,” he adds.

The show will air on SABC 3 for the first time on Sunday at 9.30am and will be anchored by news reader Lerato Mbele.

14 June 2006: The SABC releases a statement by CEO Dali Mpofu on why it refused to broadcast its commissioned Ben Cashdan /Redi Direko documentary, Unauthorised: Thabo Mbeki:

20 June 2006: The Sowetan breaks the blacklisting story – SABC responds with a press release denying the story

21 June 2006: John Perlman confirms in live radio discussion with Kaizer Kganyago, that Zikalala’s blacklist is a reality

27 June 2006: Business Day political reporter, Karima Brown, who previously worked for SABC radio news, recalls a phone call that she received from Christine Qunta where

Qunta expressed her “concern” over the ‘tone” of SAfm’s coverage of government as she felt it was pandering to the DA. She writes: “The organizational culture and ethos at Auckland Park newsroom promote self-censorship. Under the guise of transformation, the SABC has been all but hi-jacked by a clique of selfserving government lackeys who believe they alone know what the public should see and hear. These individuals are not just in news management. They are on the SABC board, in the newsrooms and they even include senior journalists.”

29 June 2006: Dali Mpofu appoints the Sisulu/Marcus Commission of Inquiry into the blacklisting scandal and associated matters such as staff morale.

3 July 2006: Anton Harber criticises Dali Mpofu’s letter in which he attacks critics who expressed concern about the Snuki Zikalala blacklist

4 July 2006: The SABC'S new current affairs programme, In the Public Interest, is slammed as a propaganda tactic aimed at stifling criticism of the national broadcaster.

August 2006: Dali Mpofu appoints his Elephant Consortium crony, Mafika Sihlali, as legal and business advisory services head.

17 August 2006: A confidential audit report into problems at the SABC in Bloemfontein dated August 17, 2006, describes Hlaudi Motseoeneg – currently (2012) the chief operating officer and the SABC’s second most powerful executive - as a bully, who has no regard for procedure or rules and a man who is more given to associating with power than with ordinary people.

The report said Motsoeneng was appointed executive producer of current affairs at Lesedi FM in June 2003 even though he “did not meet any of the required criteria” for the post.

“The qualification and experience required for this post (executive producer for current affairs) was a degree or diploma in journalism with eight years experience in the production of radio current affairs programmes, three years of which must have been in a managerial function.

“Mr Motsoeneng does not meet any of the required criteria,” the report says.

The report concludes that, “Management should consider instituting action against Motsoeneng for misrepresenting his qualifications on his 1995 application form submitted to the SABC.

“A group internal audit is of the opinion that Motsoeneng misrepresented his qualifications to the SABC, and despite numerous reminders he had failed to inform the SABC that he is not in possession of a matriculation certificate,” the report says.

The first reminder asking him to furnish the SABC with copies of his qualifications, according to the forensic report, was sent to Motsoeneng on March 27, 1996. The second on October 12, 1999 and the final one on May 4, 2000.

After the second reminder, Motsoeneng replied that “he acknowledges receipt of previous correspondence and that he is as yet not in possession of the said certificate”.

“The response from Motsoeneng is dated May 15, the year is not specified,” says the report.

Adds the report: Group internal audit received confirmation from the Department of Education that Motsoeneng has to date not yet passed his matriculation.

“In his first attempt Mr Motsoeneng failed the senior certificate examination as he did not pass the mandatory five subjects, and the aggregate obtained was below the aggregate required to pass.

“Mr Motsoeneng failed the senior certificate examination on the second attempt. . .”

It is unclear how he was shortlisted when it was clear that there was a problem with his qualifications, and he had been avoiding the issue.

“During 2003 Group Internal Audit issued a report after an investigation was conducted pertaining to the misrepresentation of qualifications by Motsoeneng. This issue was again raised by staff members during interviews in the region. It appears that Motsoeneng still hadn’t obtained or submitted proof of his qualifications.”

11 October 2006: Anton Harber reveals in Business Day that the Sisulu/Marcus Commission of Inquiry into the blacklisting scandals has issued a damning report against Zikalala showing that he transgressed the SABC’s code of ethical reporting on eight separate occasions

October 2006: Evidence led before the Sisulu/Marcus Commission of Inquiry into the blacklisting scandal reveals that Zikalala invited three presidency employees to preview an investigative insert in the SABC TV programme Special Assignment before broadcasting it and without telling the producer, Jacques Pauw. The commission said that the incident indicated that Zikalala was prepared to permit external interference.

13 October 2006: The Mail & Guardian releases the full text of the Sisulu/Marcus Commission of Inquiry findings

13 October 2006: the SABC issues a media release giving Zikalala its full support

16 October 2006: SABC fails in its attempt to interdict the Mail & Guardian from publishing the findings of the Sisulu/Marcus Commission of Inquiry

22 October 2006: Dali Mpofu writes an article in City Press saying that those opposed to Zikalala are right wing whites

31 October 2006: Wikileaks publishes an American embassy report on the Blacklisting scandal

November 2006: False allegations of sexual harassment are broadcast on SAFM against Vincent Maphai, chair of the University of KwaZulu-Natal council. Maphai, a previous SABC CEO was the man who oversaw Zikalala’s departure from the SABC in 2002. In an article in the Mail & Guardian on 29/7/2007, the former head of SABC radio news, Pippa Green, wrote: “Was it coincidence that Maphai, a past chair of the SABC board, was the man who got Zikalala out of his position in the newsroom in 2002?”

22 November 2006: Communications Minister, Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri, reveals in parliament, in response to a question by Ryan Coetzee of the DA, that the SABC (read taxpayer) had paid R123 000 for a publicity article praising SABC CEO, Dali Mpofu in the June 2006 issue of Leadership magazine. The payment was authorised by Phumelele Ntombela-Nzimande, group executive for public, international and regulatory affairs and wife of ANC cabinet minister, Blade Nzimande.