ANC Head of Elections Fikile Mbalula. Picture: SOWETAN/VELI NHLAPO
ANC Head of Elections Fikile Mbalula. Picture: SOWETAN/VELI NHLAPO

A leopard doesn’t change its spots. The ANC is at it again. Since assuming control of the government a quarter of a century ago, it has regarded the SABC as part of its fiefdom and as the state’s propaganda arm. As did the National Party before it. Fikile Mbalula’s visit to the Auckland Park head office last week was in keeping with that vile, undemocratic tradition.

Mbalula, the head of the ANC’s election campaign, went to meet the SABC’s head of group news, Phathiswa Magopeni, to complain about what he calls the public broadcaster’s "blackout" of some ANC events, according to City Press. Of course, Mbalula denies this. But he bemoans as unethical the fact that the meeting was leaked to the newspaper.

It seems to escape him that it is he and his party who, by trying to turn the public broadcaster into an extension of the party, have committed the real ethics violation.

His intervention is all the worse for coming on the heels of an attempt by communications minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams to stop the SABC from covering a protest against the party at KwaBhaca (Mount Frere) in the Eastern Cape last month. Mbalula and his comrades need to learn that the Independent Electoral Commission is the only regulator of media coverage of elections, and must direct their complaints there.