eNCA denies censoring Zuma interview, cites election rules as MK party hits back



Published May 27, 2024


Twenty-four-hour television news channel eNCA, also known as eNews Channel Africa, has dismissed allegations that it "censored" an interview with former president Jacob Zuma that was meant to air on Power to the Truth with JJ Tabane on Monday.

In a statement posted on its social media page on X, the broadcaster said the interview could not be broadcast on Monday night as it was so close to the election.

"For this reason, all current affairs programmes, including Power to the Truth, have been cancelled this week," read the statement.

The broadcaster further added that it could not advance the interest of one political party over another.

Zuma is the leader and face of the Umkhonto weSizwe (MK) party.

"If the interview was broadcast, all other political parties would need to be given equivalent airtime, which is impossible at this stage.

"eNCA will be complying with all its regulatory obligations prohibiting it from broadcasting such interviews less than 48 hours before an election. No interviews with anyone representing a political party will be broadcast until after the election."

Moreover, the broadcaster said the failure to broadcast the interview had nothing to do with the fact that it involved Zuma and his MK party.

Meanwhile, sources at eNCA confirmed to IOL that the interview with Zuma was shot last week and was ready to air. However, the powers that be at the broadcaster decided to pull the interview due to its contents, as Zuma was highly critical of the status quo in the country.

According to new and amended regulations by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA), which were gazetted on 22 February 2024, if within 48 hours before the commencement of the polling period or during the polling period, a broadcaster intends to broadcast a programme where a political party or an independent candidate is criticised, the broadcaster must ensure that the political party or independent candidate is given a reasonable opportunity to respond in the same programme.

The new regulations also state that political adverts must only be broadcast during the election period and no later than 48 hours before polling commences.

Earlier on Monday, the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) dismissed claims by Zuma that the public broadcaster disallowed him from expressing his views and opinions. Zuma accused the SABC of blocking an interview that was conducted on 22 May.

The allegations surfaced after Zuma voiced his concerns over what he described as a selective media ban against him.

Responding to the news, the SABC said the allegations were not true, "as from the onset of the formation of Zuma's political party, the public broadcaster has covered the party's activities.

"The SABC has contacted Zuma's team for interviews and there was no positive response, and this did not derail the team from trying, and even adhering to the invite from his party to cover its activities, including its rally on 18 May 2024," it said in a statement.

In a statement on Monday night, the MK party "vehemently" condemned what they said was the "ongoing and systematic persecution of President Jacob Zuma, and by extension MK party by eNCA and its associates".

"This persecution is a direct result of a coordinated anti-Zuma campaign orchestrated by the ANC of Cyril Ramaphosa on behalf of White Monopoly Capital (WMC), and those who are intimidated by the MK party's radical stance on land expropriation without compensation," the statement said.