South African Govt Under Fire For Paying For Screen Time On Real Talk With Anele

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Popular reality show, Real Talk with Anele Mdoda came under fire after reports emerged that the public broadcaster received more than U.S.$40,000 payment for controversial Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini to appear on the show. SABC acting group CEO Nomsa Philiso has said that it was “not normal” to sell interviews, especially on entertainment shows.

“It is important to ensure the show is authentic. It’s our job to take directives and make it fitting to the show,” he said.

“We still control the interview, do the research and make it interesting to the viewers. Nobody interferes with our scriptwriting or research process.”

He differed from the view that the interview with Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini, which reportedly cost the Department of Social Development a cool R500 000, was a fluff piece.

“Go onto YouTube and watch the show. Some tough questions were asked,” he insisted.

“I don’t think it was tainted at all. [Anele Mdoda] makes sure the integrity of the show is upheld.”

He said the team was “merely agents of the SABC”, who took instructions from the public broadcaster. Mdoda had no involvement in the financial side, Stevens said.

‘Not apologetic’

SABC acting group CEO Nomsa Philiso on Wednesday said selling interviews was not normal practice, especially since politicians belonged in news and not entertainment shows.

This after a preliminary investigation confirmed that the department paid for an interview featuring Dlamini and her spokesperson, Lumka Oliphant, on Real Talk in December last year.

She said she was looking into the details of what had transpired and was speaking to the relevant departments to get to the bottom of the matter.

The Daily Maverick on Wednesday reported that Oliphant contacted Mdoda, before pitching the feature to now retired chief director, Oupa Ramachela.

He reportedly rejected it, but acting chief director and head of legal services Advocate Nkosinathi Dladla later gave it the go-ahead.

Mdoda told News24 Oliphant had approached her about possibly featuring Dlamini, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and Nomvula Mokonyane on her show.

She referred the spokesperson to the SABC as she does with all similar requests, Mdoda said.

She was not aware of people paying to be on the show, as this was “none of [her] business”.

Oliphant denied anything was amiss and said that, through the Government Communication and Information System, the department buys media space to market and advertise the minister, the department and its agencies.

“To date, through [the] GCIS, the department has transferred more than R5m to the SABC for this purpose and we will not be apologetic for investing in the SABC.”

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