Former South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Jimmi Matthews has admitted that the public broadcaster deliberately banned the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).
Matthews said individuals he can’t name within the African National Congress (ANC) together with the broadcaster’s Chief Operation Officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng agreed that the EFF should not be given coverage.
Matthews was speaking with eNCA’s reporter when he admitted that it was decided that it would not be a good idea to give the EFF fair coverage.
“Malema started to be a nuisance while he was still president of the ANC Youth League, and when the EFF launched, the view expressed by the SABC was that it would not be a good idea to give Malema airtime,” said Matthews.
“I took the decision, but it was a decision bigger than Jimmi Matthews, others also expressed the same view, I should have said ‘no, that’s ridiculous’ certainly, with the growing popularity around 2014 elections and if anything the EFF is out of all political parties probably the masters of the media so we should have given them a lot more coverage,” He added.
Late last month, Matthews handed in his resignation and said the corrosive atmosphere at the SABC has impacted negatively on his moral judgement.
“For many months I have compromised the values that I hold dear under the mistaken belief that I could be more effective inside the SABC than outside,” said Matthews in his resignation letter.
Matthews’s resignation comes barely five months after he took over from Frans Matlala who was suspended after he was appointed to take charge of the broadcast last year.
EFF Leader Julius Malema said they would not accept Matthews’s apology as they had warned him before to stop being biased against them but he refused to listen.
On the other hand, ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa dismissed Matthews’s revelations that the ANC was behind the SABC censorship, saying he failed to name a single party leader who instructed the SABC not to cover the EFF.