SABC's Eben Jansen pulled off air after losing his cool

Johannesburg - The SABC has taken presenter Eben Jansen off the air after he lost his cool during a question and answer session with the EFF's spokesperson.

"We were unhappy with what happened and have taken Eben off air. He will be off air until the matter has been dealt with between us and him," SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said on Friday.

Jansen, who was anchoring the programme "SABC Newsroom" on Thursday morning, was asking EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi his views on the debate over the country's statues.

Neither Jansen nor Ndlozi could be reached for comment.

The interview begins with Jansen seeming to take a dig at Ndlozi by telling him and viewers that he "unfortunately got his times mixed up yesterday [Thursday]", at which Ndlozi, who appears larger than life on a screen in studio, in a video link from Parliament, frowns. 

Jansen begins by asking Ndlozi his response to charges that the vandalism of statues was "thuggery".

Ndlozi talks about the need for the "reorganisation of public spaces" to create a more inclusive society.

Statues like Paul Kruger's in Church Square, Pretoria, were offensive and "long overdue" for removal, he said.

Jansen asked him what made the EFF's protest different from attempts by one group to delete the history of another.

He gave as examples what colonisers did to the Mayans in South America, the "red Indians", in North America, and the Aborigines in Australia.

"Your question is fundamentally wrong," Ndlozi replies. Jansen interrupts Ndlozi in a bid to press home his point. Ndlozi smiles, waves his hand at Jansen and says: "I'm trying to demonstrate the intellectual bankruptcy of your question."

It was merely a question of the removal of statues, not of history, Ndlozi explained.

As Ndlozi continued talking Jansen interrupted with him with calls of "Mr Ndlozi, Mr Ndlozi."

"We're not talking about apartheid," Jansen interjected and Ndlozi countered with "listen, listen".

"I don't think you understand," Ndlozi said, and Jansen fired back with "no you don't understand". 

"You don't understand Mr Ndlozi, I'm not your man Mr Ndlozi," said Jansen, who then accused Ndlozi of "hijacking a student protest", referring to the debate over the Cecil John Rhodes statue at UCT.

Jansen continued shouting over Ndlozi, who asked him if he would allow him to speak. Jansen cut him off with "actually I am not going to allow you to speak anymore because we can't have a conversation, let's move on", and a bewildered-looking Ndlozi disappeared from the screen next to Jansen.

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