SABC suspends employees for sabotaging Ramaphosa’s speech

The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) says that a national address given by president Cyril Ramaphosa was sabotaged by its employees.

On 5 September, the SABC news channel aired an incorrect clip of Ramaphosa’s pre-recorded address to the nation on its Full View programme.

The pre-recorded footage shows the president making an error, and asking to re-read a segment of the speech.

“The SABC’s preliminary investigation into the incident has revealed that material for the 18h00 broadcast of the president’s pre-recorded address was prepared in good time to ensure a clean transmission,” it said in a statement.

“However, unauthorised changes were effected without any communication to the desk. Consequently, the programme published and played the rehearsal clip from president Ramaphosa’s recorded address to the nation, instead of the final version.”

The SABC said it had received a feed capturing both the rehearsal and final speech of the president, and that all employees involved in production activities were warned in advance that they should disregard the rehearsal clip.

The broadcaster said it now has ‘strong prima facie evidence’ indicating that the broadcast of the incorrect clip was a well-considered and coordinated act of sabotage to bring the SABC and consequently the president into disrepute.

“The employees who were involved in production activities at the time of the incident were given opportunity to make written representations as to why disciplinary steps should not be instituted against them,” it said.

“The SABC has received the representations and, after due consideration, the corporation has decided to suspend three permanent employees and unschedule one freelancer.

“Due process will be followed. The second phase of the investigation into this incident is still underway.”

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SABC suspends employees for sabotaging Ramaphosa’s speech