Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu has called the blunder by the SABC while broadcasting President Cyril Ramaphosa’s recent televised address to the nation a terrible mistake.
He added the mistake or sabotage could not have happened at a more inopportune time.
Mthembu made the statements at a media briefing on the outcome of a Cabinet meeting held on Wednesday.
The SABC had previously confirmed the flighting of the clip on September 5 was an act of sabotage.
“The SABC now has strong prima facie evidence indicating that the broadcast of the incorrect clip was a well-considered and co-ordinated act of sabotage to bring the SABC and consequently the president into disrepute,” read a statement released by the broadcaster.
Mthembu, addressing the issue on Thursday, said about “the blunder”: “I don’t know what to call it. I felt very bad because I was waiting patiently to hear my president speak to the nation on very important matters.”
Ramaphosa’s address was focused on issues of gender-based violence, rape and femicide as well as xenophobia and criminality brought to the fore by weeks of unrest that had rocked parts of the country.
The president also made a clarion call to men to end the scourge of violence against women and children.
On Thursday, Mthembu, said the address was about the “killing of women by men in our country and attacks on foreign nationals and fellow South Africans by some in our country”.
“And what does SABC do, or some people in the SABC do? They make a joke out of it.
“When I saw that thing I said, ‘yoh, what has happened here’. Even if you wanted to deal with us as a government or a president, why decide on that important issues? I felt that you could have done this some other time – not at that time,” he added.
“And we knew that the only people we had used [to broadcast the address] was the SABC. Now, how can the SABC give everyone the right footage and they use a wrong footage? We were hurt, we were very hurt that you could have chosen any [other] time.
“It’s so bad when, you know, something of this nature happens to our own public broadcaster and [you] throw your own government under the bus. It was not under the bus, it was under train … at a time when we relied on you to get all of South Africa – through the president – to focus on what was happening.”
Mthembu said: “… but I think that is in the past now, I think all of us as a country is now facing up to the reality that we must stop violence against women, we must stop the killing of women, we must stop the killing of our girls.
“You did throw us under the bus but we are happy that you are dealing with it.”