Sabotage suspected in bungled Ramaphosa broadcast

Staff Writer | Sep 12, 2019
The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) said it had evidence that the airing of a rehearsal clip, rather than the final version, of President Cyril Ramaphosa's recorded address to the nation last week was a ‘coordinated act of sabotage’.

The national broadcaster said it had ‘decided to suspend three permanent employees and unschedule one freelancer’ as a result of its investigation of the bungle.

The SABC said in a statement that a preliminary investigation of the blunder on 5 September ‘revealed that material for the 18h00 broadcast of the President's pre-recorded address was prepared in good time to ensure a clean transmission. However, unauthorised changes were effected without any communication to the desk. Consequently, the programme published and played the rehearsal clip from President Ramaphosa's recorded address to the nation, instead of the final version’.

It said: ‘On that day, the SABC News office in Parliament had earlier sent the feed capturing both the rehearsal and final speech of the President to the Line Records desk. Those involved in production activities were all warned in advance that they should disregard the rehearsal clip. The SABC now has strong prima facie evidence indicating that the broadcast of the incorrect clip was a well-considered and coordinated act of sabotage to bring the SABC and consequently the President into disrepute.’

After considering ‘written representations’ from the staff involved, the SABC had decided to suspend three permanent staff and ‘unschedule’ a freelancer.

‘Due process will be followed. The second phase of the investigation into this incident is still under way,’ the statement said.

It quoted SABC CEO Madoda Mxakwe as saying the broadcaster ‘will not tolerate any acts or omissions that bring the public broadcaster into disrepute, and undermine efforts to eradicate systemic problems of malfeasance and maladministration plaguing the institution’.


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