SABC bans Zuma booing from news broadcasts

2013-12-11 13:34

Johannesburg - While TV news broadcasters across the world led their bulletins with the booing of President Jacob Zuma at the memorial for Nelson Mandela yesterday, SABC’s prime-time newscasts all but erased the incidents from history.

City Press has learnt from six independent sources at the public broadcaster’s news division that various instructions were given to ban broadcasts of the booing.

The SABC has not responded to questions sent by City Press making these allegations.

The sources - from field reporters to producers to technical crew - do not wish to be named as they do not want to jeopardise their jobs, but have filled City Press in on how news bosses handled the booing situation.

SABC broadcasted the memorial live, beaming images of Zuma arriving at the FNB Stadium both on TV and on big screens inside, when elements in the crowd began to jeer and boo.

Some also gestured the soccer substitution sign.

'Cut away! Cut away!'

The incidents repeated when Zuma was shown in pans of the VIPs on the big screen until the live feed was cut on the screens, which showed an image of Mandela for about half an hour.

The live feed on the screens recommenced during US President Barack Obama’s speech.

In the SABC news studio, the crisis was managed, according to insiders, by Nyana Molete, the national TV news editor.

Sources say he strode into the control room in Auckland Park calling: “Cut away! Cut away! Cut away!” This, they say, was in line with the decision in a meeting before the broadcast to avoid broadcasting any incident that might embarrass the ANC leadership.

City Press believes presenters in the field complained about the control room instructions, which put them on the spot. Commentary was steered away from the booing.

Two separate sources confirmed that SABC radio reporters in the field received instructions over their cellphones when the booing happened. They were observed not commenting on or covering the crowd’s displeasure.

Another source told City Press that staff preparing the evening’s news bulletins received instructions, said to come from head of news Jimi Matthews, that the booing incidents would not be included and that booing should not be referred to, rather “unruly behaviour” by elements in the crowd. 'bitter'

While eNews and eNCA made the booing their headline story, SABC3’s 19:00 news bulletin and prime-time 24-hour news channel coverage all but ignored it.

Media Monitoring Africa director William Bird confirmed this, saying: “There’s no mention of booing from our observation so far. Not in the SABC1 headline bulletin or the SABC3 headline bulletin. There’s not even mention of an unruly crowd”.

According to one independent monitor, the broadcasters’ websites followed suit.

By 15:00, it was the main story on the eNCA website with a clip of the booing. The first mention of it on the SABC website is four hours later just after 19:00, says the monitor. It is then only mentioned in a story about Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu’s rebuke of the crowd.

SABC news did, however, tweet about the booing, even storifying it by assembling tweeted reactions.

Observers of the SABC’s 24-hour news channel say that after prime-time, passing mentions were made to the booing and the unruly elements in the crowd.

SABC was sent questions about the editorial control of the booing three times since last night but had not responded at the time of publishing.

This is not the first booing incident the SABC has had to deal with. In 2005, aired footage proving that an SABC cameraman had been present and filming when then deputy president Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka was booed on Women’s Day by Zuma supporters.

The SABC had denied this and went on to issue an apology, which blamed the freelance cameraman for failing to record the booing and accused of being “bitter”.

In October this year, a similar incident occurred at the Marikana Commission of Inquiry, when a bereaved widow shouted at national police commissioner Riah Piyega. eNCA broadcast the confrontation but the SABC did not, according to reports.

Friends, colleagues, comrades and family of Nelson Mandela are invited to share their memories and tributes, and to light a candle for him, on his profile at

  • Sanchez Sancho - 2013-12-11 13:40

    We really dont watch it that much anyway.

      Konstabel Koekemoer - 2013-12-11 14:18

      So true, the only people who watch SABC are those who have access to no other channels. Sadly Zuma gets his support from many of these people and this is why he has to keep the masses poor and uneducated to stay in power.

      ThabangBonang - 2013-12-12 15:33

      The fortunate part for ANC is that many people that cant afford DSTV watches SABC only. Especially since its in their mother tongue. Many are those that will be voting in the elections. That's a plus for the ANC. Keeping people in the dark for their benefit.

      Shane Silver - 2013-12-14 08:29

      fortunately, this wont detract from the fact that the idiot got boooo'ed all the way to the moon and back. one cant wish it away, nearly everyone i know has the digital original. also, now the sabc is known as pravda 2 in all the foreign press circles. struggle on, dear comrades..

      Shane Silver - 2013-12-14 08:45

      South African Boo-ing Censors

  • DraconiaShadow - 2013-12-11 13:41

    I lolled , saw it live . and not via your stupid sabc dictatorship. It is what it is ok ? people do not like this man for everything that he has done in the past and this year. just because you blocked it from the "general public" doesnt mean there are sites or persons who shared it via 3rd party. It is the way and the works of the internet and media. Those same people who you blocked it from carried on watching from another source THAT IS ALL

      Phume Hlathini - 2013-12-11 14:34

      @ Draconia, they still going to vote for him. that's a fact. ANC will still be in power. I don't know why people are getting soo excited. today `happy faces`, next year November `sad faces`.

      Johannes Metspoeg - 2013-12-12 09:40

      This is the beauty about outlawing things! As soon as something is made illegal, everyone wants to know what it is, how it looks and what it tastes like. It is human nature. We are inquisitive beings. But I agree Phumi. We must at some stage wake up and realize this country is no democracy. No matter where we vote, the ANC will "win". Do you guys think Mad Bob gives two hoots that the rest of the world thinks he is a sub human leech? Not a chance! He is still in power and that is all that matters.

  • Dehlia Fredericks - 2013-12-11 13:43

    two topics for the day: Obama's brilliant speech nd yep Booing of Zuma's speech! damage done, 4 the world 2 c nd hear!

  • Don Master - 2013-12-11 13:43

    This calls for an even more intensified Booing of Zuma wherever and whenever he shows his mug in public. We are tied of this crook. ANC must wake up and realize that Zuma is a great liability to the organisation and the country.

  • jungleboy - 2013-12-11 13:43

    Does the SABC still think we live in 1976? 3 billion people saw Zuma being booed. It just shows how running scared they are, One can only imagine the propaganda poor SABC viewers are going to be fed during the election.

      CliveK - 2013-12-11 20:27

      Public broadcaster? No way! State broadcaster? Maybe. ANC propaganda machine? For sure!

  • Liezl Pretorius - 2013-12-11 13:46


  • Cliff Slabbert - 2013-12-11 13:46

    Typical of the government controlled media.

  • DrGonzoSA - 2013-12-11 13:47

    As Obama said yesterday: "There are too many leaders who claim solidarity with Madiba’s struggle for freedom, but do not tolerate dissent from their own people."

      Konstabel Koekemoer - 2013-12-11 14:21

      Obama was definately talking about Zuma. I'm so glad that the world got to see first hand what the people of SA think about Zuma.

      Jan Grimbeek - 2013-12-11 14:30

      Don't know what's the fuss about obama's speech and all the hum haa about himn as person, the us government only removed the terrorists name from their terror lists the day after he died.

      Eben Van Derr Merwe - 2013-12-11 14:37

      Glad you noticed, I direct swipe at our incompetent government (Zuma more specifically) , and I am sure none of them picked this up!!!!!!.

  • Jimmy Don - 2013-12-11 13:47

    Ja ne , the truth hurts hey SABC.

  • Mzukisi Swarggart TaMzu Ngxumale - 2013-12-11 13:47


  • Leo Les - 2013-12-11 13:49

    ag we dnt watch sabc-zuma, we knew it will hapen, zooooooooooo

  • Andre Teitge - 2013-12-11 13:49

    And Nelson Mandela fight for a free and democratic South Africa, this just go's against all he stand for! He wanted people to see how South Africa really was!

  • Mark Anthony - 2013-12-11 13:50

    are we not living in a free country? are we not allowed to express our disgust at a man clearly not for the nation? poor call sabc

  • Omnivore - 2013-12-11 13:52

    Who still watches SABC?

      Mike Heyns - 2013-12-11 14:05

      Now that is a GOOD question!!

      Windell Barton - 2013-12-11 14:13

      Exactly what Jimmy said. Those ANC voters who live in shacks and cannot afford internet or dstv. They are the one's who needs to see this uprise and it is kept from them. Touche ANC, Touche.

      John Stoltz - 2013-12-11 15:11

      Will not watch ANC/SABC propoganda, and for the same reason will not pay TV license to fund that cancerous outfit that only poison people's minds !!

      Jacqui Daane Van Rensburg - 2013-12-12 14:48

      Omnivore. The majority who can't afford DSTV.

  • Frans Van der Poll - 2013-12-11 13:52

    Wrong heading!! Should read - ANC instructs SABC to ban Zuma booing.

  • Sipho Gift - 2013-12-11 13:52

    BoooooooOoooo 2 sabc zuma puppets final uve shown us that ur not independent u bunch of sabc board boooooo again ur shielding no1 thug of the country we the ppl r tired 2 hide evil ways of zuma the world has 2 know what kind of a thug & dictator he is,nw the msg is loud & clear international

  • Lunghile Ntsemi Ndleve - 2013-12-11 13:53

    As a national broadcaster SABC should maintain a neutral position so as to bring to the viewer a broadened view of South Africas reality, thus helping improve people's perspective on the country's leadership, state of affairs. This in turn will help the masses make more informed decisions when deciding where to buy food and more importantly who to vote for next year

      CliveK - 2013-12-11 20:30

      Who is the idiot who gave this comment a thumbs-down?

  • Brandon Kenneth Harris - 2013-12-11 13:54

    What a load of nonsense SABC! That has got to be some sort of "indoctrination"

      Voelgerus Diego - 2013-12-11 14:26

      All graduates of Toni Yengeni's political school.

  • Bokenza Bassnotik - 2013-12-11 13:54

    I don't see how Blocking the booing will improve his image, the people are already fed up with him

      Dave Abner - 2013-12-11 13:59

      I agree. The SA Bunch of Comrades are simply burying their heads in the sand... Let's see how they spin next year's election results when the ANC loses 15%.

  • Brandon Kenneth Harris - 2013-12-11 13:55

    What nonsense SABC!!!! That has to be some sort of "indoctrination"!!!!

  • - 2013-12-11 13:57

    Yes, let's delete it from all need broadcasts and pretend it never happened. Same story every time with the SABC. What ever happened to journalistic integrity and telling the truth?

      Windell Barton - 2013-12-11 14:22

      Not when their pockets are being lined by the ANC.

  • Elizabeth Bothma - 2013-12-11 13:58

    Can we really blame our fellow South Africans, who are living in poverty. No houses, no jobs. When ou 'esteemed' President and his many wives, children and family are ripping us of and living in splendour with our tax money. If I was there, I would probably have booed as well. Yes, it might not have been the right platform, but let's not cast stones, when we are not the ones going to bed hungry and sleeping on the streets. Boo! Mr Zuma! Boo!

  • Liezl Pretorius - 2013-12-11 13:59

    We don't need to see the spade to know the hole has been dug.

  • André Van Wyk - 2013-12-11 14:01

    Well obviously that will attract more attention. Well done SABC! Never heard of youtube, internet, word of mouth etc.

  • Kelu Lamont - 2013-12-11 14:02


      Mark Oosthuizen - 2013-12-11 14:25

      Exactly. The voters who didn't get to see it live are manipulated into thinking there was no booing. We are living in dictatorship people! The majority are becoming an elite minority who will step on all of us and ruin the country to accumulate wealth - and in the process step on our freedoms including our freedom of speech and expression.

  • Roger Jenkins - 2013-12-11 14:02

    HZ must be smiling. A bit of karma for No1. Except this was a world class embarrassment.

  • Itu Ike Boikanyo - 2013-12-11 14:02

    I never watch SABC channels. Crap.

  • Ria Cook - 2013-12-11 14:03

    How can you ignore the highlight of the day?

  • Jenn Mokgadi - 2013-12-11 14:08

    Gosh zuma is controlling the news now, boy we are dead next this will be changed from south africa to zuma africa

  • mantlekilo - 2013-12-11 14:09

    The booing is directed at the ANC in general and Zuma more specifically. The SABC is naive to think that 'banning the visuals' will do anything but up the anti ......against ZUMANC. The SABC itself is at the forefront of the very same justifiable abuse from Joe Citizen ....they should hear the message loud and clear an koff.

  • Bones Facts - 2013-12-11 14:09

    So news24 nd city press r happy that few idiots high on something embarrsd themslvs.even Tutu was pssd.

  • Liescha Lee Naude - 2013-12-11 14:09

    lol how stupid to hide something that the rest of the world has seen!

  • Busisiwe Mtsweni - 2013-12-11 14:10

    SABC=ANC. The will always cover corrupt ANC.

  • George Michaelides - 2013-12-11 14:11

    BOOOO ZOOOMER....BOOOO SABC....the people have already spoken ..the whole world has seen how disgruntled they are with are a disgrace to our Rainbow Nation....hamba wena..

  • Brad Herbert - 2013-12-11 14:11

    you cannot hide the anc's endless self embarrasment. i'm just glad the WHOLE WORLD has seen how useless the anc really is. now we can all laugh together

  • Erno - 2013-12-11 14:11

    '...when elements in the crowd began to jeer and boo.' Elements don't boo - people do :)

  • Munyaradzi Peter Rwizi - 2013-12-11 14:12

    SABC belongs to ANC

  • Tawizee - 2013-12-11 14:13

    I am not paying my TV license!

  • Anthony Kirby - 2013-12-11 14:13

    Reminds one of the apartheid days. We hear and see only what the Gov wants us to see. Yet the rest of the world does see it.

      Grant Burden - 2013-12-13 11:25

      Very true I was speaking to a journalist recently who said lots of articles used to end up in the bin because they did not meet the Government agenda. Looks like nothing has changed.

  • Nondumiso Shinga - 2013-12-11 14:14

    I also dnt like zuma BUT anc will win elections next year

      Marina Dc - 2013-12-11 14:49

      Nondumiso, I believe you are right but they must prepare for a surprise if they pull Zuma through with them. By the talk on the streets, people feel the ANC betrayed their trust and loyalty.

      Thomas Gower - 2013-12-11 15:05

      Yes they will but with a much reduced majority.

  • Nhlapo Pk Phoka - 2013-12-11 14:15

    "Dear SABC – Ignoring it, won’t make it go away, the whole world already saw it.– just saying!".

  • Ronald Langeveld - 2013-12-11 14:16

    Bunch of cowards!

  • Stephen van der Bank - 2013-12-11 14:16

    You can fool some of the people(the poor and illiterate)some of the time,You cant fool the rest...

  • Reinhild-Heimo Böhmer - 2013-12-11 14:18

    His masters voice !!

  • Chris Bester - 2013-12-11 14:18

    Another cover up instructed by the ANC???

  • Mark Oosthuizen - 2013-12-11 14:18

    This is proof the ANC are trying to hide the truth from their own people. Why continue calling it the SABC when clearly it is ANC-TV? This is just censorship aimed at keeping Zuma and the ANC 'safe' in the next election. Disgusting.

  • Ntokozo Mavimbela - 2013-12-11 14:19

    SABC is stupid ... What are they to cover up ??? Millions of people saw it already and the people have spoken

  • Andile Qongqo - 2013-12-11 14:19

    In the words of Nelson Mandela: "A critical, independent and investigative press is the lifeblood of any democracy. The press must be free from state interference. It must have the economic strength to stand up to the blandishments of government officials. It must have sufficient independence from vested interests to be bold and inquiring without fear or favor. It must enjoy the protection of the constitution, so that it can protect our rights as citizens."

      Mike Bundy - 2013-12-11 17:42

      And yet even when the great man was president then the SABC was purely an ANC mouthpiece

  • Johan Verster - 2013-12-11 14:19

    Why do I feel like I'm back in the "old" South Africa?!

  • Nasiefa Jackson Lazarus - 2013-12-11 14:20

    whats the point??? we saw it already and so did the rest of the world !!!!!!!!!!