President Jacob Zuma’s office and the SABC on Monday rejected claims by the Democratic Alliance (DA) that the public broadcaster’s staffers had been summoned to the Presidency.
In a statement on Monday, the DA’s spokesperson on communications, Phumzile van Damme, said the party had been reliably informed that some SABC staffers, including acting general editor for news Kenneth Makatees and head of TV news Nyana Molete, had been summoned to Zuma’s office.
Van Damme said the summoning of SABC staff was “highly irregular and, frankly, quite suspicious”.
However, Presidency spokesperson Dr Bongani Ngqulunga denied he had summoned the SABC staffers, saying the meeting was initiated by the SABC.
“The allegations that President Zuma summoned the SABC team to the Union Buildings today [Monday] 2 October are a fabrication, and are totally untrue.
“The Presidency communications team had a short meeting with two SABC journalists today as part of a routine engagement with journalists to discuss operational issues and working relations‚” Ngqulunga told TimesLIVE.
Ngqulunga said he and other communicators meet with and talk to journalists regularly as part of their work.
“There was nothing suspicious or sinister about the interaction with the SABC. We have similar interactions with journalists from other news organisations, and we will continue to do so.”
Meanwhile, SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago described the DA’s claims as “ridiculous”.
“We have stakeholders. We meet stakeholders from time to time. There was nothing sinister about that‚” Kganyago told the news website.