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DA accuses SABC of political bias over refusal to air party's land message

The public broadcaster has refused to air a message from the party's leader Mmusi Maimane on land expropriation.

A sign outside the offices of the South African Broadcasting Corporation in Johannesburg. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG – The Democratic Alliance (DA) has accused South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) management and new board of failing to display independence from political interference.

The public broadcaster has refused to air a message from the party's leader Mmusi Maimane on land expropriation.

The main opposition had given the SABC until midnight to broadcast the video statement after reporting the matter to the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA).

The DA's Phumzile van Damme says the public broadcaster has violated the BCCSA's code of conduct.

“We have written to the BCCSA after they confirmed that they will not play it, requesting that the BCCSA makes a ruling, which will hopefully set a precedent going forward.”

Meanwhile, the SABC says it already received papers from BCCSA before the DA logged a complaint with the public broadcaster.

Spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago says the SABC will not allow the DA to interfere with its editorial decisions.

“It was sent to everybody, including yourselves [EWN], for you made the decisions to use that clip or not. And that’s the same reason that we did. Therefore, if they also wanted to do a message like that, they should have sent it to us and allowed us to make an editorial decision.”

Last week, the SABC broadcasted a pre-recorded statement by African National Congress President Cyril Ramaphosa on the party's decision to push for an amendment of the Constitution in support of land expropriation without compensation.

(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)

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