Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille on Thursday wrote to the SABC requesting that the national broadcaster give the opposition the same television platform accorded to ANC president Jacob Zuma.
“I have today written to the Acting CEO and Editor in Chief, Gabriel Mampone, to request that he gives the Democratic Alliance the same opportunity to set out its alternative vision and policies,” she said in a statement.
On Wednesday the SABC hosted Zuma during a special broadcast where the ANC president briefed listeners on recent developments within the ruling party.
However, Zille said the special broadcast amounted to nothing other than a platform for Zuma to “spout party political rhetoric”. “Giving the president of the ANC a special platform without affording the opposition the same opportunity is biased, partial and unbalanced. This is particularly true in this case because Zuma used this platform to say that the DA has no policies,” she said.
The interviewer should not have allowed Zuma’s statement on the DA to go unchallenged.
“It is ironic for Jacob Zuma to make these comments when he has steadfastly refused to join me in a televised policy debate, despite repeated requests to do so. Perhaps if Mr Zuma agreed to debate me, he might brush up on the DA’s policies,” Zille said.
The only way the SABC could rectify the injustice was by according the DA the same opportunity it granted to Zuma.
“If the SABC refuses our request, it will confirm that it is not motivated by the public interest, but a desire to suck up to whoever is in power,” Zille said.
Zille threatened to haul Mampone before parliament’s communication portfolio committee should the public broadcaster fail to heed the DA’s call.
The Independent Democrats has also criticised the SABC’s decision to host Zuma.