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No link between SABC ‘gags’: Mgabadeli

Yet more questions have been raised about independence at the SABC.

Journalist and broadcaster Siki Mgabadeli. Picture: SABC

JOHANNESBURG - Yet more questions have been raised about independence at the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC).

On Friday, Eyewitness News revealed that while SABC management was attempting to justify its decision to cancel a Metro FM discussion about Mangaung, a similar instruction was given to SAFM presenter Siki Mgabadeli to pull a slot in her show.

On Tuesday night, Sakina Kamwendo was at the last minute forced to cancel a discussion with three political journalists about media coverage of the ANC's upcoming elective conference - the SABC said that was done in the interests of balance.

It argued the ANC should have been invited to weigh-in on on the debate.

On Wednesday morning, Mgabadeli's 'workers slot' came under fire for the same reasons - despite featuring president of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), Sdumo Dlamini.

It is understood management sent an instruction to the station manager during the 10am bulletin, to tell the programming manager to cancel the show because the ANC was not invited.

SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said there was never an instruction to cancel the show, but that there was a request from management for the ANC to be called at the last minute.

The show continued, even though the ruling party was unable to send a representative.

Mgabadeli, who resigned last month and did her last show yesterday, said she did not intentionally look to put herself in that position.

"The timing for me was a bit curious, obviously, with what had happened with Sakina but we certainly did not set-up to put ourselves in that position.

"The interview had been set up way before Sakina's show… so I don't think there's any link between the two."