Spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago says he doesn’t “have to guarantee to you or anybody” that the programme entitled !_LT_EMRights !_LT_/EM!_LT_EMof passage!_LT_/EM will not be changed after consultation with traditional leaders.
The programme, which would have been broadcast on Tuesday (22 April), was not broadcast because the SABC had not finished consultation with its stakeholders, including members of the Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa (Contralesa), Kganyago says. The corporation’s group executive, which is chaired by group chief executive Dali Mpofu, made the decision on the same day at a meeting at which “the programme came up”.
According to href=”http://www.sabcnews.com/specialassignment/” target=_blank mce_href=”http://www.sabcnews.com/specialassignment/”Special Assignment‘s web page, Rights of passage deals with initiation Ã¢Â€Â“ particularly the death of 25-year-old Buntu Majalaza following a “botched circumcision”.
Kganyago denies the existence of an agreement with any organisations for traditional leaders. What is in place is a “commitment” to consult about programmes with “cultural connotations” before broadcast Ã¢Â€Â“ in accordance with the values of conversations and partnerships, so as not to offend.
Asked how this “commitment”, when applied to news programming, would accord with the value of editorial independence, Kganyago said Special Assignment was “just an investigative programme”. It didn’t matter if it was a “drama or whatever” Ã¢Â€Â“ the SABC had made a commitment and it would be “unprofessional not to keep to it”.
This “commitment” is the result of the uproar last year following the SABC1 broadcast of two episodes of the four-part mini-series Umthunzi Wentaba, which had traditional circumcision as a theme. At the time the SABC interrupted the broadcast mid-series and said it had ordered the producers to make “minimal changes” that did not change the overall storyline.
Kganyago now claims Umthunzi Wentaba was not edited before it was eventually rebroadcast. “It was enhanced.”
He says the SABC’s commitment to consult is not restricted to traditional leaders. It might for example also apply to religious groupings.
Kganyago claims consultation “does not equal change”. “There is no intention to do anything except put it back (on air).”
When asked if the SABC could guarantee that Rights of passage would not be changed, he refused to do so. He could, however, guarantee that the programme would be broadcast in future.
style=”MARGIN-BOTTOM: 0cm”Ã¢Â–Â The SABC previously delayed the broadcast of a TV profile about President Thabo Mbeki in the Unauthorised series for more than a year, because it claimed the producers did not keep to their brief and parts were deemed “defamatory”. An edited version was eventually broadcast on SABC3.