DOCUMENTS

Court orders SABC to provide live coverage of congress - DA

Party says public broadcaster conceded before Judge Carelse that it had no case, agreed to order

DA files urgent court application against SABC live feed withdrawal 

08 May 2015

The Democratic Alliance has this morning filed papers in the South Gauteng High Court against the SABC for its withdrawal of live coverage of the DA Federal Congress in Nelson Mandela Bay this weekend.

The DA alleges that the SABC withdrawal of its live coverage on public television is both contrary to the public interest and contrary to the SABC’s own editorial policy. The National Public Broadcaster must act with political impartiality and must not display bias in its live coverage decisions.

It is manifestly in the public interest that a national elective congress of the Official Opposition in South Africa, representing over 4 million voters, receives coverage by the National Public Broadcaster.

The SABC has, without fail, covered the ANC’s major national events, including extensive live broadcasts of elective and policy conferences, birthday celebrations and lectures. The SABC’s decision to withdraw live coverage of the DA’s Federal Congress, in contrast, is irrational and unreasonable.

Statement issued by Phumzile Van Damme, DA National Spokesperson, May 8 2015

Update:

DA wins court case for live SABC coverage of Congress

08 May 2015

The South Gauteng High Court has tonight ruled in favour of the DA, ordering the SABC to provide live coverage of our Federal Congress in Nelson Mandela Bay.

The SABC conceded before Judge Carelse that it had no case, by agreeing to the order sought by the DA.

The DA alleged that the SABC withdrawal of its live public television coverage was both contrary to the public interest and contrary to the SABC’s own editorial policy. The Public Broadcaster must act with political impartiality and must not display bias in its live coverage decisions.

This is a victory for democracy. Only through live political coverage on free-to-air channels can voters in South Africa make informed political decisions. Live coverage eliminates the potential abuse of editorial influence over political events.

The SABC's News Channel on DSTV requires an expensive subscription, beyond the means of millions of South Africans.

Live coverage of DA Federal Congress will commence at 10h30 tomorrow morning on SABC 2, for the opening ceremony, and from 13h00 on Sunday 10 May, for the announcement of a new DA Federal Leader.

This victory sets a welcome precedent for the coverage of political events in South Africa.

The DA won this case with costs.

Statement issued by James Selfe, DA Federal Executive Chairperson, May 8 2015