Bathabile Dlamini dodges journalists over paid SABC interview

2018-01-18 16:35
Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini. (Leon Sadiki, Gallo Images, City Press)

Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini. (Leon Sadiki, Gallo Images, City Press)

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Johannesburg – Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini dodged journalists following an event at the SABC on Thursday, where she was acknowledging the academic performances of social grant beneficiaries who wrote their matric in 2017.

This follows confirmation from the SABC to News24 that the department had paid it for an interview featuring Dlamini and her spokesperson Lumka Oliphant on Real Talk with Anele in December 2017.

READ: SABC confirms Social Development paid for talk show interview

The department apparently paid R500 000 to the public broadcaster for the interview.

Journalists were denied one-on-one interviews with Dlamini to discuss the payment, as well as the latest social grant debacle.  

However, in an interview with Radio 702's Bongani Bingwa on Thursday morning, Oliphant said the department had paid the public broadcaster R149 000, and not R500 000.

She said the department had transferred more than R5m to the public broadcaster, through the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS).

"We had a clean audit. No one is interested in writing about Bathabile Dlamini, who had five consecutive clean audits. So, what do I do? I buy space. I buy space here so people can know what we are doing.

"No matter how many times, for instance, we say she doesn’t drink, people say she drinks," Oliphant said.  

On Wednesday, SABC acting group CEO Nomsa Philiso said it was "not normal" to sell interviews, especially on entertainment shows.

'Not normal practice'

"There was payment, from what my team tells me," Philiso told News24.

She said she was looking into the details of what had transpired and was speaking to the relevant departments to get to the bottom of the matter.

'For them to insinuate I took money is ludicrous'

She said that selling interviews was not normal practice, especially since coverage of politicians belonged in news and not entertainment.

Meanwhile, the social development department denied there was anything amiss.

ALSO READ: Paying for exposure on Real Talk with Anele not uncommon - executive producer

On Wednesday, Daily Maverick reported that Oliphant had allegedly contacted Anele Mdoda, before pitching it to now retired chief director Oupa Ramachela.

He reportedly rejected it, but the acting chief director and head of legal services, advocate Nkosinathi Dladla, later gave it the go-ahead.

Mdoda said the furore had nothing to do with her or her on-air team.

"It is commissioned by the SABC. I am the presenter. I have nothing to do with them."

She said it was implied that she had been paid, which she said was "rubbish".

"For them to insinuate I took money [to do the interview] is ludicrous. I have no dealings with what happens with the Department of Social Development or the SABC. I get a directive of who they would like on the show and that is who we research."

The SABC owned the show, she said, which focuses on personalities and their personal and family lives.

Read more on:    sabc  |  bathabile dlamini  |  media

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