SABC probing possible editorial code breaches over VBS scandal coverage

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The public has the opportunity to comment on candidates for the SABC board. (Duncan Alfreds, News24, file)
The public has the opportunity to comment on candidates for the SABC board. (Duncan Alfreds, News24, file)

The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) on Saturday said it was probing possible breaches in its editorial code regarding the coverage of the VBS Mutual Bank debacle by its newsroom in Polokwane.

“The decision is in line with the on-going efforts to ensure that SABC News’ editorial principles of independence and impartiality are upheld at all times,” the public broadcaster said in a statement.

“Moreover, it is also to safeguard the integrity and credibility of its various news products, by ensuring that it delivers content that is fact-driven.”

SABC spokesperson Neo Momodu stated should the investigation in Polokwane reveal evidence that the SABC News service’s editorial principles had been compromised, “such violations will be dealt with decisively”.

“Any selective coverage, perceived or real, poses a real danger to the editorial character of the SABC News brand and therefore any interference, external or internal in our editorial decision making will not be tolerated”.

This follows last week's revelations of large-scale looting to the tune of R1.8bn at VBS Mutual Bank in a report titled "The Great Bank Heist", compiled by advocate Terry Motau and Werksmans Attorneys.

The Citizen last month reported that the DA in Limpopo said it would write to the SABC Board after Phalaphala FM was allegedly banned from speaking about, among others, VBS Mutual Bank.

According to the publication, the party said the move had not been surprising as Vhembe municipality mayor and ANC provincial deputy chairperson Florence Radzilani was understood to have deposited R300m into VBS Bank.

It reported that the Limpopo ANC said a probe had been launched into allegations that “certain members were involved in the VBS saga”.

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