Oliphant was trying to confuse Sassa issue - 702 station manager

2017-03-06 20:00
Radio studio. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Radio studio. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Cape Town – 702 station manager Thabisile Mbete believes Department of Social Development spokesperson Lumka Oliphant was trying to complicate a discussion about Sassa on Monday when she refused to conduct an interview in English. 

"We feel that her decision to speak in isiZulu was nothing more than an attempt to obfuscate the actual issue under discussion," Mbete said in a statement. 

Oliphant was scheduled to speak to 702 presenter Xolani Gwala about the Constitutional Court deadline of March 31 when the department will be required to insource all social grant payments.  

If the department is unable to come up with a solution by the end of March, 17 million recipients might not receive a grant come April. 

READ: Hugs, cheers, applause for Dlamini at Sassa event

During their interview, Gwala asked Oliphant to respond in English for "the benefit of our listeners".

Oliphant ignored his request and continued in Zulu.

Gwala again attempted to convince Oliphant  to communicate in English, but to no avail. Gwala then ended the interview.

"I am sorry, we have to move on because you clearly don't want to do this and you are determined to disrespect the medium, and there's absolutely nothing I can do about it," Gwala said at the end of the interview.

Mbete said it was not unreasonable to expect Oliphant to respond in English. 

"We have on many previous occasions engaged with Ms Oliphant on air and other forms of correspondence in English, including communication which she has initiated," Mbete said.

Mbete said Oliphant had been in conversation with producers since Sunday and was given ample time to request an interview in another language.

"If she had made this request ahead of time, we could have allocated additional time to the interview, to allow Xolani to translate," he said.

Read more on:    702  |  sassa  |  lumka oliphant  |  media  |  social grants

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