Mbeki ban reports false - SABC

2010-07-11 16:30

Johannesburg - The SABC on Sunday denied as "false" reports that it has banned television and radio coverage of former president Thabo Mbeki.

"The SABC rejects with the contempt it deserves the article 'SABC news boss Molefe bans Mbeki', which appeared in today's edition of the Sunday Times," spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said in a statement. "The article... is totally false, malicious and intended to mislead and without base."

The Sunday Times reported that ANC headquarters allegedly instructed Molefe not to broadcast any interviews with Mbeki or any items about him.

SABC head of news Phil Molefe reportedly called a meeting with senior news executives, where he told them that Mbeki's appearance on SABC television undermined ANC leader President Jacob Zuma.

"We would therefore like to indicate that there was never any instruction given to anybody or any intention to ban former president Mbeki from any of our platforms," Kganyago said.

He said the SABC had not received any instruction from Luthuli House or from Mahlambandlovu, as alleged.

The SABC was guided by its editorial policy and would never take instructions from anyone or any organisation, he said.

Earlier, Democratic Alliance chief whip and MP Ian Davidson said Molefe should explain to Parliament why there was a ban on television and radio coverage of Mbeki.

"It is simply unconscionable that any political party would be dictating editorial policy to the SABC. Mr Molefe needs to explain his behaviour to Parliament," Davidson said.

Kganyago said the SABC reserved the right to pursue any legal avenue available to it, in order to deal with "these malicious rumours, intended on causing confusion and havoc and undermining our integrity".