The Mandela era 1994 – 1999

The Mandela era 1994 – 1999

1995: Hlaudi Motsoeneng, currently (2013) acting Chief Operating Officer of the SABC, its second most powerful executive earning R2.2-million annually, joins the SABC in Bloemfontein. He provides the SABC with a form which stated that he had done his matric in 1991 at Metsi Matsho High School. However, he never actually produces the certificate, despite repeated requests from the then HR officer, Ms Marie Swanepoel and two other staff members, Helena Botes and Paul Tati. Motsoeneng’s alleged response was that he was still searching for the certificate. However, contrary to this evidence which has been supplied to the Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela, the SABC now claims that he was always open about the fact that he had never passed matric.

He also filled in a form in which he listed five matric subjects that he claimed to have done in 1991 in fulfilment of the requirements for a matric pass.

1996: The Chairperson of the SABC Board of Control, Dr Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri, nominated herself for re-appointment to the board in 1996 when the term of office of the previous one came to an end. She subsequently phoned the office of the Minister for Broadcasting to make sure that they had in fact received her nomination.

Dr Matsepe-Casaburri was not appointed to the new SABC Board, having been "redeployed" by the ANC when she was appointed premier of the Free State.

25 July 1996: Olefile Samuel Mnqibisa, a former MK soldier testifies before the TRC about the human rights abuses he and other suffered at the hand of Snuki Zikalala. As a result of a promise by Zikalala that he would testify before theTRC to rebut these allegations, Max du Preez does not broadcast Mnqibisa’s testimony. This was a lie and Zikalala never testified.

3 September 1997: Zikalala, clearly at the behest of factions within the ANC starts broadcasting blatantly false allegations which seek to implicate businessman Saki Macozoma in criminal dealings and without contacting Macozoma for his side of the story. Macozoma takes the matter to the BCCSA which finds in his favour and orders the SABC to broadcast an apology and correction. In his book, Media Ethics – An introduction to responsible journalism (Oxford University Press 2002), author Johan Retief uses this as a case study and finds that Zikalala’s reporting was “blatantly unfair because it lacked balance on just about every count.”

October 1997: Zikalala, interviewed by Angella Johnson in the Mail & Guardian says: “I used to hate everything to do with white people – especially the police and the army. It’s not easy to shake that passion, but I’m trying to keep a spirit of reconciliation.”

May 1998: Zwelake Sisulu promotes Zikalala from a labour reporter with TV news to deputy head radio news

3 June 1998: The SABC announces that its new group chief executive, Rev Hawu Mbatha, would take over from Zwelakhe Sisulu at the end of the month. Mbatha, a former presenter of religious programmes on Radio Zulu and former SABC's regional manager in Kwa-Zulu Natal, was then chief executive of the SABC's radio division. A report in the Mail & Guardian on 5 May said that his appointment had stunned many as Mbatha had trounced favourites who had applied, like SABC programme director Mandla Langa, Sisulu's deputy Govin Reddy and well known academic Professor Njabulo Ndebele. Mbatha was scheduled to commence duty on July 01.

August 1998: Special Assignment broadcast for the first time by Max du Preez, Jacques Pauw and Anneliese Burgess