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Several SABC employees suspended over President Ramaphosa’s speech blunder

By Ashok Ramsarup :: The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has suspended three of its employees and a freelancer for airing the wrong video recording of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s speech on gender violence and xenophobic attacks that engulfed the country.

The State broadcaster said in a statement that it could now provide the general public with an update regarding what they termed “a serious production and transmission failure” that occurred in its News Division on Thursday last week.

In the statement, the SABC said the decision was made after a probe into the matter in question was undertaken. The incident occurred on the six o’clock programme titled Full View on the 5th September.   Apparently, the SABC News Channel aired an incorrect version of President Ramaphosa’s pre-recorded address.

SABC Group Chief Executive Madoda Mxakwe said the state broadcaster would not tolerate any acts or omissions that brought the public broadcaster into disrepute, and undermine efforts to eradicate systemic problems of malfeasance and mal-administration plaguing the institution.

According to the SABC’s preliminary investigation it established that unauthorised changes were effected without any communication to the desk.  The programme played the rehearsal clip from President Ramaphosa’s recorded address to the nation, instead of the final edited version.

Earlier, President Ramaphosa addressed the country via a recorded message focusing on the recent gender-based Violence engulfing the country and the recent violence in Gauteng concerning foreign-owned businesses.

Social media took to the streets following the broadcast. Many used the social media platforms of accusing the public broadcaster of sabotaging the president.

SABC News and Current Affairs Group Executive, PhathiswaMagopeni  said any  employee found to be involved in any form of clandestine activities aimed at undoing the ongoing work to restore the credibility of the public news service, would be dealt with accordingly within the confines of the SABC’s human resources and disciplinary code.

Magopeni said the credibility and the reputation of the SABC was of utmost importance. “What happened on Thursday had no place at all in the public news service”, she said.

The SABC said that the affected employees had been given an opportunity to make representations.   “The broadcaster hasensured the public that it is on track in dealing with elements that seek to derail the SABC from fulfilling its constitutional obligation,” added the SABC.

Ashok Ramsarup is award-winning senior journalist of South Africa 🇿🇦

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