Political parties hit back at SABC news channel

2013-08-02 08:40

The launch of the 24-hour SABC news channel is “premature”, the Azanian People’s Organisation (Azapo) has said.

“[The] SABC for almost two decades has stumbled from one form of leadership crisis to the other,” it said yesterday in a statement.

The Democratic Alliance said live SABC television coverage of a speech by President Jacob Zuma smacked of electioneering.

“In fact, the president’s speech sounded much like an election speech,” party spokesman Mmusi Maimane.

“He used the opportunity to rattle off a list of supposed government achievements.”

Azapo was further worried about subjective political reporting ahead of the general election next year.

“Azapo calls on our people not to support this channel because it is our taxes that will be used in bailing it out when it sinks.”

The organisation alleged the broadcaster would use its resources to “suppress other parties contesting ANC rule”.

“We further call on all political organisations to put more pressure on how [the] SABC treats other political organisations.”

The channel was launched at the SABC studios in Auckland Park, Johannesburg. The public broadcaster went live at 6pm on DStv channel 404.

Around 100 people attended the event, and a choir made up of SABC employees provided the entertainment for the ceremony.

President Jacob Zuma was the first guest to be interviewed on the channel.

The Media Workers Association of SA (Mwasa) said the launch of the channel was a “welcome change”.

“It is an exciting moment for South Africa after years of Gauteng-centric focus,” it said in a statement.

“Competition will be rife and the SABC needs to fast shed the jet lag from years of inertia and internal strife.”

It said the public broadcaster would need to offer a “different staple of news” from the “overly-politicised diet”.

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