Friday, February 6, 2015

SABC: Thinus Ferreira has an 'untoward obsession' with the public service broadcaster; slams me for 'unprofessional reporting of the SABC'.

The SABC just issued a press statement (below) about ... me. Again.

On  Wednesday, I asked the SABC in a media enquiry "whether the SABC has any statement or comment from the SABC regarding the lifts situation at the SABC's Aucklandpark headquarters?"

I asked the SABC: "The SABC said the contractors would repair the lifts, when will this work be completed?"

I asked the SABC: "I was told that a lift today fell several floors, and that only one lift is working, is there any comment from the SABC on this?"

The SABC didn't send me a response - which if it sent this press release two days ago, surely would have been in my reporting.

Instead the SABC's corporate communications executive Vuyo Mthembu send me just this: "If you do not have a serious enquiry please do not write to us. The issue of lists has nothing to do with you!"

After that I asked the SABC whether this is the SABC's official response to this media enquiry.

I didn't get any response.

On Wednesday I emailed the SABC's spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago, that I would call him on Thursday to discuss this issue but on Thursday he didn't answer his phone. I saw that he attended the memorial service of Simba Mhere (which is probably why he didn't answer).

Today (Friday) I called again. I explained that irrespective of the value of a news story - whether someone or a place regard it as frivolous or serious - I have to keep asking questions.

I was told I didn't ask the SABC about a lift falling (It's in my email and official email media enquiry).

I'm not trying to hold the SABC"to randsom". And if anybody "lied" in June 2014 it wasn't me, its the SABC.

What is correct is that I do have an untoward obsession. Yes with the SABC. Yes with all broadcasters, all TV channels, all TV shows, all TV talent - those on it and those working behind the scenes.

I like to know everything about it, and to tell people about what I'm told - even things like fire drills and staff putting up funny notes about lifts that's not working.

Below the SABC's statement issued today in full:

(PS: I'm very busy and even if I had the time I wouldn't ever call the department of labour.  I don't have their number.

The SABC also forgot to add the word "so-called" as in "so-called Cape Town based TV critic" which it included in its previous statement in 2014 about me. I'm terribly hurt. )

Johannesburg, Friday 06 February 2015 - The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has noted with dismay, the untoward obsession Mr. Thinus Ferreira, has with the public service broadcaster. The SABC has engaged Mr. Ferreira on several occasions on his unprofessional reporting of the SABC. A media statement was even previously released to dispute lies that Mr. Ferreira reported in June 2014.

Once again Mr. Ferreira has brought disrepute to his coverage of the SABC through this incorrect article ‘SABC literally falling apart-lifts plunges at Aucklandpark headquarters as SABC warns workers about ‘abnormal lift outages’ on his blog and on, which is titled ‘Safety scare as SABC lift plummets several floors’ published on Wednesday 04 February 2015.

In this malicious article, which had the intent to sow fear amongst SABC staff members, Mr. Ferreira who claims to be an independent TV critic and journalist, stated that ‘a lift at the SABC African public broadcaster fell and plunged several floors, after which the SABC warned its “First Citizens” in a corporate-wide message about “abnormal lift outages”.  He goes on to quote an anonymous SABC source who stated that ‘lifts in the SABC radio building fell several floors from the 4th floor to 2” and that “luckily the emergency brakes kicked in”. This is a blatant lie. No lifts plunged several floors.

Mr. Ferreira would surely appreciate that it would be standard procedure for any company to notify its staff members of maintenance issues whether it be in relation to lifts, water or internet outages. Does this mean the SABC must report to Mr. Ferreira when these should occur? Such as the enquiry he sent regarding when and how the SABC communicated to staff around a fire-drill that was recently held.

It must be noted that indeed Mr. Ferreira approached the SABC’s Group Communications unit for a response, and due to previous incidents where Mr. Ferreira attempts to misconstrue comments/quotes provided to him and due to the fact that the enquiry was frivolous in nature, with the attempt to put together a sensational article, the department refused to respond to his query.

Interestingly, on the day of receiving and responding to the enquiry from Mr. Ferreira, the Department of Labour around 17:00, received an anonymous call, with the individual claiming to have sustained an injury, while being in one of the lifts. We would not put it past Mr. Ferreira or his dubious sources to have been this anonymous caller.

The following day on Thursday, 05 February 2014, the Department of Labour conducted a surprise inspection of the lifts in RadioPark.  The inspection noted that there was no lift that fell, and the report on, which carried Mr. Ferreira’s article and on his blog was a lie. A report by the department on the visit, clearly indicated that the SABC is well capable of handling maintenance issues when it comes to the lifts, and that the SABC dealt with the one incident of an individual being stuck in the lift on the day, in a professional and speedily manner.

Mr. Ferreira needs to understand that the issue of lifts is not related to TV matters, and we would urge him to focus on the work of being a serious journalist and leave maintenance issues to the SABC. We would also like to urge Mr. Ferreira’s dubious sources, who if are SABC employees to focus on doing their work instead of leaking information filled with lies and without context.

The SABC will not be held ransom by ‘journalist’s such as Mr. Ferreira and will continue to communicate accordingly with its ‘First Citizens’ on internal matters that concern them. The SABC will always remain committed to ensuring a safe and working environment for all staff.