The Economic Freedom Fighters has described an eNCA report showing party leader Julius Malema proposing a possible merger with the African National Congress after the 2019 general elections as “malicious and sensationalist”.
EFF spokesperson Fana Mokoena on Wednesday said the report was a “distortion of the truth”, and accused eNCA Checkpoint journalist Nkepile Mabuse of deliberately manufacturing it.
“We must be categorically clear. There is no possible merger planned by the EFF and its president between the EFF and the corrupt ANC,” Mokoena said in a statement.
“The President made it clear in that interview that the ANC must collapse and shut down Luthuli House if they want to talk to us and make a meaningful contribution to the politics of this country.”
Mokoena said Mabuse had asked Malema if he would ever consider going back to the ANC, and that Malema had answered with a categorical “no”.
“She then pressed on with the question, creating the impression that she was not asking for a practical official position, but rather an imagined circumstance.
“The President then acceded to entertaining her line of questioning, thinking it was in the context of the entire interview in which it would have been clear that he had previously said there is no possibility of a gravitation toward the ANC.”
The EFF also said it wanted an apology from Mabuse and eNCA. Mokoena told News24 on Thursday that eNCA had agreed to the party’s demand to air the full version of the interview on its website.
‘Editing done carefully’
eNCA editor-in-chief Anton Harber said in a note in the full interview that it was not usual practice for the station to release a full interview, but that it was making an exception due to the EFF’s allegation.
“Our work is always edited to ensure that we give our audience what is most valuable and interesting, but it is done carefully to ensure the end-product is an honest and accurate reflection of what was said,” he said.
“It will become clear to those who view the full version that the excerpt we used on air was not distorted or manipulated. We stand by its accuracy and the integrity of Ms Mabuse’s work.”
Harber said parts of the original were withheld because they contained allegations against political leaders that were potentially defamatory.