SABC denies claims of biased coverage

The SABC isn't surprised by allegations from opposition parties as it happens every election.

The SABC isn't surprised by allegations from opposition parties as it happens every election. Picture: Christa van der Walt/EWN.

It says the comments are nothing more than small parties clamouring for attention ahead of the polls.

The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), Congress of the People, Democratic Alliance and the Economic Freedom Fighters have raised concerns after their election rallies were not broadcast live on TV or on the SABC's radio platforms.

They've also accused management at the public broadcaster of ordering staff not to give coverage to certain parties.

SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago says the broadcaster isn't surprised by the allegations as it happens every time South Africa heads to the polls.

"We are not amazed by these things, they happen every year. Obviously they [opposition parties] want more than what they are getting. But we don't make the rules."

He says all parties are aware of the regulations entitling each party to coverage which is relative to support received in previous elections.

"That is regulated by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) where bigger parties get a bigger share and smaller parties get a smaller share. Nowhere does it say parties must get equal coverage."

The IFP has, meanwhile, called on opposition parties to take a united stand against the SABC for what it says is biased election coverage in favour of the ANC.

IFP National Campaign Committee Chairperson Narend Singh says the party was misled by the SABC's editors and suspect the broadcaster purposefully ignored their event.

"We don't believe this could have happened and we would like an investigation."

Singh says several other opposition parties share the party's grievances.

"We believe that other opposition parties are also up in arms about the limited coverage."

Meanwhile, the DA yesterday laid a complaint against the SABC after the public broadcaster allegedly refused to air the party's election adverts on TV or radio.

Icasa was given 48 hours to respond to the official opposition's complaint.

Kganyago dismissed the DA's intention to lodge a complaint with Icasa and says it will only vindicate the SABC in the end.