South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) Spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago says “to celebrate President Jacob Zuma’s birthday with a song is an editorial decision.”
Speaking to the Republic Mail over the phone, Kganyago said; “we’ve played songs for other leaders in the past, including former President Thabo Mbeki, Desmond Tutu during their birthday, if they [the DA] have a problem with him [President Zuma], they should take it up to him not with the SABC.”
Earlier today the DA issued a statement slamming the decision for the public broadcaster to play a song for President Zuma on his birthday.
“The party has learnt that various [SABC] radio stations, including Ukhozi FM, Phalaphala FM, Ikwekwezi FM and Ligwalagwala FM, have received instructions “from above” to play a special happy birthday song for the President’s birthday today,” the party said at the time.
The DA attributes such a move to President Jacob Zuma’s camp within the ANC. “In light of the political and economic fallout following the President’s midnight cabinet reshuffle, the latest move by the Zuma camp can be described as nothing less than propaganda to ensure that he retains his power by all means possible,” said the statement.
However, Kganyago said “We are the public broadcaster, we celebrate each and every citizen’s birthday on our radio and television platforms and President Zuma is the citizen before being the president.”
“Someone submitted a song to us and wish it to be played on our radio stations,” added Kganyago.
The DA said “will submit parliamentary questions to the new Minister of Communications, Ayanda Dlodlo, to find out who exactly commissioned the song, who paid for the commissioning of the song, which stations were ordered to play it and how much it cost to air the song?”