'Too close to elections': eNCA on not broadcasting Zuma interview

27 May 2024 - 15:50
By Modiegi Mashamaite
MK Party leader Jacob Zuma's interview will not be aired before Wednesday's election.
Image: Gallo Images/Sharon Seretlo MK Party leader Jacob Zuma's interview will not be aired before Wednesday's election.

MK Party leader Jacob Zuma's two-hour interview with veteran journalist JJ Tabane will not be broadcast on Monday on eNCA channel because “it is too close to the elections”.

In a viral video, Zuma accused the SABC and eNCA of banning his interviews days before Wednesday's election. 

“This is something out of this world because South Africa is a democratic country. I think I am the only one so far being blocked by big broadcasting stations. I last heard of this in the hard days of apartheid where many people were not allowed to speak. They were banned not to say anything. Not to say their views, politically in particular,” Zuma said. 

Responding to Zuma's accusations, eNCA said: “The interview cannot be broadcast tonight [Monday] as it is so close to the elections. For this reason, all current affairs programmes, including Power To Truth, have been cancelled this week.”  

The broadcaster said the decision was an exercise of editorial discretion aimed at upholding journalistic integrity before elections. 

eNCA favours no political party over any other and the failure to broadcast the interview has nothing to do with it involving ex-president Zuma. eNCA will comply with its regulatory obligations prohibiting it from broadcasting interviews less than 48 hours before an election.”

The SABC also dismissed the claims made by Zuma.

“The allegations are not true. From the onset of the formation of Zuma’s party the public broadcaster has covered the party’s activities,” the broadcaster said.

“On May 22, Zuma’s team contacted the SABC’s political editor to cover the party’s announcement in Durban. The SABC responded to the invitation to cover the story. The team was allocated less than 10 minutes and was told not to ask questions. In this coverage, Zuma repeated everything he said at the rally on May 18, which the SABC covered extensively.

“In this regard, the team was not able to explore any new angle that would have deemed the story newsworthy. After the normal editorial processes to broadcast the story the editorial team decided there was no new angle to broadcast it. It is therefore disingenuous to suggest the SABC has banned Zuma or his views.”