'Poll coverage will be fair'

Edward Tsumele

Edward Tsumele

In what appears to be a response to the pressure of persistent complaints of bias from political parties, the SABC has now appointed its own news complaints officer.

Zolile Majova, a veteran journalist of the corporation and at present managing editor of television news, will deal with any problems that political parties might experience with TV coverage on SABC leading up to the elections next year.

"This is part of the SABC's campaign to ensure that its election coverage is equitable and fair," the corporation said yesterday.

"It has already spent two days in discussion with South Africa's major political parties to brief them on how it intends covering the elections."

Majova said: "I look forward to helping make the election coverage fall strictly in line with the Independent Complaints Commission of South Africa rules and SABC editorial policy, making certain that political parties get equitable and fair treatment."

The veteran newsman has committed himself to responding in writing within 72 hours from receipt of a complaint.

The ANC and its alliance partners have of late complained of political bias when it comes to the coverage by the SABC relating to the ruling party and the Congress of the People.

"It's imperative that complaints are lodged with this office directly and not with individual programmes," Majova said.

"I look forward to a fruitful cooperation with the political parties."

The corporation has emphasised Majova's appointment does not replace the normal channels available to TV audiences to lodge complaints about alleged infringements of regulatory prescriptions.