SABC radio, television and online platforms have ensured nationwide coverage of road to the 2019 National and provincial elections.
The Current Affairs programmes of 14 SABC Public service radio stations criss-crossed the country from the beginning of March, hosting town hall election debates. With audiences and political parties participating at all events, discussion was often heated and combative. However, SABC radio audiences were assured their issues were placed on the discussion table. While load shedding threatened Munghana Lonene’s Polokwane debate, among others, it still proceeded – albeit “in the dark” – with cellphone torches for light.
In another incident, the Ukhozi team could not broadcast in Meadowlands, Soweto because they “allegedly” did not have permission from the City Council, despite being in communication with local police. The debate was successfully relocated at the SABC’s M1 Studio in Auckland park in Johannesburg.
Head of SABC Radio News and Current Affairs, Angie Kaplianis says “we have this incredible ability to bring together parties and people of different political persuasions and T-shirts in the true spirit of democracy.”
SABC Televison News programmes such as Morning Live and Full View also hosted election debates with various political parties across the country. A notable event was in Hangberg, Hout Bay where members of different political parties threw chairs at each other forcing the broadcast to be halted.
The Big Debate also partnered with the SABC ahead of Electiosn 2019, to bring lively discussions to Sunday night television news.
As South Africa commemorates 25 years of democracy in 2019, SABC News embarked on a project that highlighted the successes, failures and challenges facing the country’s citizenry.
The Democracy Gauge reviews the 25 years of South Africa by profiling South Africans across the nation. In the spirit of telling “our” story, Democracy Gauge reintroduces the custom of oral tradition, which is steeped in African culture, but has been largely been ignored. It is a project that places the citizen at the front and centre of the story of South Africa’s democracy, allowing people to tell their stories, in their own voices, languages and locations.
SABC News has also made huge strides in the online space. SABC Digital News launched the elections-focused website which features video and audio of elections broadcasts and details of upcoming radio and TV shows. It also features news about elections preparations and party campaigns, the Democracy Gauge stories and Today in 1994 – a feature highlighting news events in the run-up to the ’94 elections.
Users will also be able to retrieve election results from www.sabcnews.com/elections from Wednesday evening.
SABC News also introduced the SABC News app, to expand its content distribution platforms. Available to download from Android (Playstore) and iOS (App Store), the app provides access to daily breaking news and updates, as well as live streaming of the SABC News channel (currently available only on the DStv platform), news videos and live listening to all the 19 SABC radio stations.