Talk show host did not insult Public Protector: BCCSA

Talk show host Eusebius McKaiser did not insult the Public Protector when he asked her spokesperson if Busisiwe Mkhwebane was “just useless” during an interview on Radio 702‚ the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) has found.

Mkhwebane’s spokesperson‚ Cleopatra Mosana‚ complained to the BCCSA that McKaiser had labelled her boss on air as useless and said this amounted to an insult.

Mosana complained that two interviews – one with Mkhwebane on June 20 and a second with herself on July 11 - were not conducted fairly.

The station‚ however‚ argued that the interview was conducted in an appropriate manner.

“…nothing said or asked during the said interview can be considered as unfair…reasonable efforts were made to present opposing views by getting the spokesperson to respond to the criticism levelled against the Public Protector as well as allowing listeners to call in to the studio to voice their opinions‚” the station said.

McKaiser had initially interviewed Mkhwebane on her recommendation to review the mandate of the South African Reserve Bank.

A month later‚ he had an interview with her spokesperson on Mkhwebane’s concession that her recommendation went beyond her powers as the Public Protector.

Mkhwebane‚ in a report in June on the Bankorp/Absa lifeboat in the 1990s‚ instructed the chairman of the portfolio committee on justice‚ Dr Mathole Motshekga‚ to initiate a process that would result in amending the Constitution to change the mandate of the Reserve Bank. She later changed her tune and conceded that she did not have the powers to make such a recommendation.

During the interview with Mosana‚ McKaiser attempted to get her to explain the about-turn.

Mosana maintained that Mkhwebane did not get the law wrong.

McKaiser asked Mosana: “How did she make such a basic mistake or is she just useless?”

The commission held that this was not a statement but a question‚ “admittedly‚ a rhetorical one”.

The commission also noted that McKaiser was frustrated after not getting a “rational” response from Mosana on the issue.

“…it is understandable that the host became frustrated when the complainant persisted in denying that the PP got the law wrong.

“…the host did not exceed the bounds of freedom of expression‚ neither could the complainant succeed that she was treated unfairly‚” the commission found.

- TimesLIVE

Source: TMG Digital.

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