Monday, July 11, 2016

SABC press conference once again turns 'Twilight Zone' as Hlaudi protester disrupts; executives and board members go completely off-message (again).

Another week, yet another bizarre and surreal SABC press conference on Monday afternoon that went off the rails.

The SABC press conference, once again hastily convened on Monday, was first postponed to 15:00, then started 40 minutes late, and then literally saw the inside of Auckland Park turned into an episode of the "Twilight Zone".

No other broadcasters do amateurish press conferences they way the SABC push its limelight loving chief operating officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng to speak, where he and others constantly stray off the intended message and make jaw-dropping comments and announcements.

On Monday afternoon, midway through the press conference, a Right2Know Campaing protester disrupted the press conference who were ordered by SABC PR tzar Kaizer Kganyago to be thrown out by SABC security who slammed the protester as a "disaster".

Ironically the disaster was yet again the SABC and its latest press conference where incompetent sounding SABC board members and executives rambled on, did confusing double-speak, once again overshared ["SABC buildings, the were ceilings were falling apart"], attacked the very media and print editors it invited, and went off-message.

The SABC who invited the media, didn't want to answer yet again about what is happening to the suspended CEO Frans Matlala, or the 8 suspended SABC journalists who opposed SABC censorship decisions. 

SABC news censorship 'is not a blanket ban but a veil'
While SABC chairperson Mbulaheni Maguvhe initially said the SABC's legal team will look at the order from the broadcaster regulator, Icasa, to end its ban on broadcasting the destruction of property during public protests, Hlaudi Motsoeneng minutes later at the same press conference said the SABC won't listen to the regulator and will fight the decision to the Constitutional Court.

Several times members of the press held their hands in front of their mouths as they smirked and outright laughed at the SABC's answers. 

In a bizarre response, the SABC chairperson Mbulaheni Maguvhe asked the media if, after the shooting in Dallas, people saw dead bodies laying around. "I want to ask you media, did you see dead bodies? Were they there? You are quiet. Is that censorship? You are also quiet."

Mbulaheni Maguvhe said the SABC's TV news censorship is "not a blanket ban but a veil".

SABC board member Aaron Tshidzumba who actually lectures in journalism, then incorrectly said "the SABC is a government company" and that "we don't deal with politicians. We deal with out shareholder who is the minister of communications". The minister is a politician.

Then Aaron Tshidzumba slammed print editors. "I question whether these editors of news rooms they're doing justice to correct journalism" and slammed The Sunday Times saying "you are lying to the public when you write a story of seriousness like that, that SABC is borrowing R1.5 billion without verification. That is a lie."

"What crisis is there? Employees are getting their salaries. What crisis is there?" said Aaron Tshidzumba

Aftter the SABC experienced two multiple blackout in 2014 that saw all SABC TV channels and radio stations that went off air, and with SABC News that went off air in April 2015, Aaron Tshidzumba asked if the SABC has "ever been seen off air?" 

A non-sensical Aaron Tshidzumba said "we will go to all avenues to answering this Icasa's issue. To prove to them that if they've recommended using rumours or illegal advice which is not informed by broadcasting, we as broadcasters we're still correct."

'Hlaudi must go, away with censorship'
Then a Right2Know campaigner, spokesperson Micah Reddy disrupted the SABC's press conference and showed how bad its security is.

"Hlaudi must go, away with censorship. Away with Hlaudi," he shouted as a protester, holding up a poster reading" We reject censorship, propaganda and purges". As he was removed he shouted: "History will judge you".

Kaizer Kganyago grabbed the mic, saying "that is a very irresponsible thing to do. And it is just something that you don't want to do. Can we get security to get this man out? You are a serious disaster if you come here under the pretext of being a journalist".

"That cough is not an SABC cough"
Then chairperson Mbulaheni Maguvhe, not asked, decided to talk about the cyber hackers who so far has taken off the SABC's websites three times the past month. "These hackers they do it, they want to prove a point that we're not sustainable. Believe you me, they will hack and hack and hack. They will find us still here".

Hlaudi Motsoeneng said "financially, we are stable within the organisation" and said the SABC will deal with SABC staffers who seek to destabilise the public broadcaster. "We call it Operation Clean Up."

"Those who are saying people should revolt against SABC. We will deal with internal people". 

Hlaudi Motsoeneng saw it fit to overshare and tell media on a press conference that he went to SABC offices in Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal "the ceiling was falling apart". 

He said "you touch RSG [the SABC's Afrikaans radio station], there is hullabaloo. RSG is part of SABC. You can't divorce RSG within SABC. We are aware of those people who don't want change. Change is painful but we are going to make sure there is change within the organisation".

About the suspended 8 SABC journalists who voiced their opposition against the SABC's restrictive news censorship policy, he said "when 8 people cough, that cough is not an SABC cough, and it can't infect SABC."

"Those who want to destabilise this organisation they won't succeed. We are not going to be influenced by people outside the SABC. We are not going to be influenced by anyone. We are going to run SABC professionally the way it should be run,"

Hlaudi: 'I don't have stress'
Hlaudi Motsoeneng in his usual purple power suit said "I don't have stress".

"When I'm under pressure, I perform very well. So all the hullabaloo they don't affect me. I don't focus on what people are saying outside".

"No problems within SABC. I walk tall. I talk tall. Everything that I do there is energy in me because I don't focus on other people. But also it is also misleading to say people are against Hlaudi. The minority maybe. And anyway in life, you won't be loved by everybody," said Hlaudi Motsoeneng.