The EFF deputy president has called for ‘someone to fall’.
Deputy president of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Floyd Shivambu slated the SABC for its alleged bias against the party.
This was in response to former SABC acting CEO Jimi Matthews, who confirmed that the public broadcaster had starved the EFF of coverage ahead of the 2014 general elections.
Shivambu hinted that “someone must fall”, labelling the public broadcaster’s alleged decision to ban the EFF “satanic”.
“I hear that #JimiMatthews is revealing the satanic decisions of SABC against the EFF, & how they are fearful of the EFF. Someone must fall,” said Shivambu.
I hear that #JimiMatthews is revealing the satanic decisions of SABC against the EFF, & how they are fearful of the EFF. Someone must fall.
— Floyd Shivambu (@FloydShivambu) 3 July 2016
Two weeks ago, Matthews resigned as acting SABC CEO. In a letter to the public broadcaster’s board chair Professor Mbulayeni Maghuve, Matthews admitted: “I have compromised the values I hold dear under the mistaken belief that I could be more effective inside the SABC than outside‚ passing comment from the sidelines.
“In the process the prevailing‚ corrosive atmosphere has impacted negatively on my moral judgment and has made me complicit in many decisions which I am not proud of.”
Matthews has said that the SABC’s circle of influence, including “certain individuals” outside the SABC, led to the public broadcaster limiting coverage of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and its “loudmouth” leader, Julius Malema, during the 2014 elections.
“When Malema started becoming a nuisance in the [ANC] Youth League and when the EFF was launched, a decision was taken that maybe it would not be such a good idea to cover Malema and his cohorts,” Matthews told Meet the Media host Eusebius Mckaiser in a live interview on eNCA.
“It was bigger than Jimi Matthews’s decision, it was Jimi Matthews agreeing with the views expressed both inside the SABC and by certain individuals outside the SABC.
“Certain individuals in the ruling party, including people like Hlaudi, were of the view that we should not give Julius and his crowd coverage. I was part of that decision.”
In City Press on Sunday, the paper revealed an in-depth look into the “management style” of Motsoeneng, with the recently resigned Jimi Matthews talking about an apparent “reign of terror” at the public broadcaster. He claimed that Motsoeneng ruled with unbridled power and had allegedly said that he was the SABC and the SABC was him. He allegedly also said “I am the board” and “I am the alpha and the omega”.
Matthews further alleged that Motsoeneng warned his staff that he “had his informers” among them, so people were constantly being threatened to toe the line. If reporting strayed from what he wanted, he allegedly said “the communications minister is furious” or “the presidency is furious”.
Ever more SABC journalists have been joining the chorus of protest at Motsoeneng. Senior editor Thandeka Gqubule, who is among those suspended by Motsoeneng, said that she had had enough of the COO’s approach that if you did not like his decrees, you could just leave. She said the final straw was the banning of visuals of violet protest action, particularly at the height of the Tshwane riots. She said political interference was the key problem at the SABC.
Many picketers from major media companies on Friday handed over a list of demands to the Constitutional Court about the chaos at the SABC after picketing outside SABC Towers in Auckland Park, calling for the suspensions of journalists to be overturned. Motsoeneng indicated that he would review the decision.