The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has rejected allegations by African National Congress’ (ANC) head of elections Fikile 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.

Mbalula has also criticised SABC Group Executive of News and Current Affairs, Phathiswa Magopeni.

Addressing the media at Luthuli House in Johannesburg on Thursday Mbalula says, “The SABC was a big problem. You guys during the local government elections, you run a programme called gauge. That programme meant that you’re putting the ANC on the backfoot. You were in all these majority municipalities showing our weakness. I did my job to the best of my ability against a ruthless SABC. No doubt you have added to the negative mood and you have aided the campaign of people not coming out in their numbers to vote.”

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

No written evidence

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.

Issue of corruption

The ANC further says there are a lot of factors that led to its electoral decline in the November first local government polls, including the issue of corruption.

The governing party lost all three Metros in Gauteng to the DA, which was supported by ActionSA, the EFF and others.

The ANC succeeded in establishing governing coalitions with smaller parties in the Ethekwini and Nelson Mandela Bay Metros.

Mbalula says one of the reasons for the loss of support is that South Africans are not convinced that they are fighting corruption.