The African National Congress’s head of elections, Fikile Mbalula, says he stands by what he said about the SABC contributing to low voter turnout during this month’s Local Government Elections.

He was responding to criticism by the South African National Editors Forum (Sanef) for what it called an attack on the public broadcaster for its coverage of the elections.

Mbalula has accused the SABC of not showing the good side of the party and only focussing on negative service delivery issues in the municipalities the ANC ran.

Mbalula says he was merely stating the party’s view on the public broadcaster’s coverage of the elections.

“I said I raised those issues during the campaign with Phathiswa and then she disagreed with me and said exactly what she said today in a letter and I was responding to Ntebo Mokobo when he asked that question on behalf of the SABC. Now for SANEF to suggest that I attacked the editor of SABC is disingenuous and at best it’s a shot that is actually fired in a misdirected way, and I think a debate is a debate, they don’t have to agree with what I said and is for everybody to judge and I’m not saying entirely the ANC lost precisely because of the SABC, I’m saying the SABC played a part.”

ANC’s head of elections, Fikile Mbalula, saying SABC was a big problem during elections: 

SABC rejects Mbalula’s claims

The SABC rejected allegations by Mbabula that the public broadcaster’s coverage of the local government elections was to blame for low voter turnout and the ANC’s poor performance in several municipalities and metros.

The SABC says the ANC has not submitted any written evidence to substantiate the allegations.

SABC management believes that SABC News covered these elections in line with its Editorial Policies and ICASA’s election regulations. SABC management, therefore, rejects Minister Mbalula’s allegations in the strongest terms. The public broadcaster believes that this scapegoating of SABC News is unacceptable and disrespects the SABC’s role as an independent public broadcaster fulfilling its constitutional duty,” says the public broadcaster in a statement.

The SABC has reiterated that should any political party have a complaint about any aspects of the SABC’s coverage they are encouraged to follow the established regulatory avenues available.

SABC rejects comments made by Minister Mbalula on LGE 2021 coverage: