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Campaign coverage a test for SABC

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The party did well last week and on Saturday to ensure that it was a dominant and visible brand to the electorate

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NOW that the ANC has instilled fear in the opposition parties through its show of force and by filling up the Moses Mabhida Stadium, it is time to get down to the serious task of campaigning for the elections.

The January 8 statement, which also served as the launch of the ANC’s manifesto, marked the official start of the campaign for the country’s most important election ever.

The party did well last week and on Saturday to ensure that it was a dominant and visible brand to the electorate.

However, opposition parties such as the DA and EFF will not just roll over and die as they are determined to spoil the party, the same way they did in the 2016 local government elections. They want to see the ANC dip below 60%.

That is why the coverage of the election campaign by the cash-strapped SABC is going to be critical in as far as fairness and equitable coverage is concerned.

While we are not saying the SABC must allocate equal amounts of airtime to all political parties contesting the polls, an attempt to achieve fairness would go a long way to ensuring free and credible elections.

Bigger parties would expect their manifesto launch to be broadcast live to the millions of eligible voters, and we hope the public broadcaster will be equal to the task.

Even smaller parties will be within their rights to expect some form of coverage to demonstrate that the days of political interference at the SABC are over.

The ruling party is well aware that elections will not be a walk in the park as the electorate is demanding accountability.

It is therefore extremely important that the whole election process is fair, including the taking of the message to the voters.

The SABC has its work cut out on this one.