SABC in up­roar as news team re­called

Sunday Times - - News Health - By ZINGISA MVUMVU

● A group of se­nior SABC jour­nal­ists has com­plained to the pub­lic broad­caster’s man­age­ment about a de­ci­sion to ground the pres­i­den­tial corps, in favour of an in­ter­na­tional news agency.

SABC in­sid­ers said the group raised its con­cerns dur­ing a meet­ing at­tended by head of news Phathiswa Magopeni, TV news boss Nothando Maseko and her ra­dio news coun­ter­part, Se­bolelo Ditl­hakanyane.

Also present was for­eign ed­i­tor and act­ing po­lit­i­cal ed­i­tor So­phie Mokoena.

The group, which in­cludes re­porters Mzwandile Mbeje, Ntebo Mokobo and Tshepo Ika­neng, said the de­ci­sion to as­sign the For­eign Ser­vice Net­work to cover Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa was not vi­able as the footage would not be for SABC ex­clu­sively.

Group mem­bers also claimed the Pres­i­dency had com­plained that us­ing for­eign re­porters to cover Ramaphosa com­pro­mised his se­cu­rity as his trav­el­ling de­tails were shared with peo­ple who had not been vet­ted. How­ever, Ramaphosa’s spokes­woman, Khusela Diko, de­nied this.

In ad­di­tion, the group com­plained about Mokoena’s lead­er­ship style, cit­ing a de­ci­sion to re­call an SABC team af­ter it failed to record De­fence Min­is­ter No­siviwe Mapisa-Nqakula land­ing in An­gola. The team was meant to leave An­gola for Mau­ri­ta­nia, but in­stead Mokoena went.

But oth­ers said Mokoena was cor­rect to re­call the group as mem­bers had “mis­be­haved” dur­ing the An­gola trip.

“They were there to cover the min­is­ter; how do you ex­plain miss­ing her ar­rival?”

Mokoena is said to have re­signed from her act­ing role dur­ing Mon­day’s meet­ing.

She told the Sun­day Times that there was a “pa­tri­ar­chal” agenda to get rid of her be­cause she is a woman.

She said her pulling out of her act­ing po­lit­i­cal ed­i­tor­ship was “no train smash” as it was not a per­ma­nent ap­point­ment.

SABC man­age­ment is said to have promised to ap­point an in­terim po­lit­i­cal ed­i­tor by mid­day on Wed­nes­day.

“But so far we have been on au­topi­lot in the po­lit­i­cal desk, which is not go­ing to work, espe­cially given that we are head­ing to elec­tions next year and there is a Brics sum­mit com­ing up on July 25,” said an insider. “We need sta­bil­ity and di­rec­tion.”

SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago de­clined to com­ment, say­ing the mat­ter was in­ter­nal.

Mbeje, Mokobo and Ika­neng also de­clined to com­ment.

Mokoena said there was “al­ways” a ploy to re­move her from the pol­i­tics desk when­ever elec­tions were loom­ing.

“I am tired of you South African men, in par­tic­u­lar you male jour­nal­ists, for mis­treat­ing and con­niv­ing against me since 1994 be­cause I am the first fe­male to be in that po­lit­i­cal field and to this day you men are fight­ing me,” she said.

“Ev­ery time to­wards the elec­tions there must be this thing. The in­ten­tion is noth­ing else but pa­tri­archy in the me­dia.”

I am tired of you SA men . . . mis­treat­ing and con­niv­ing against me since 1994 be­cause I am the first fe­male . . . in that po­lit­i­cal field So­phie Mokoena

For­eign ed­i­tor and act­ing po­lit­i­cal ed­i­tor

So­phie Mokoena

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