Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) has monitored every democratic election in South Africa. This year we are doing the same, providing daily and weekly reports on media coverage of election news, as well as MMA’s Election Media Ratings.

Top elections stories for Tuesday 17 March are:

1. FF Plus’ objection to the IEC about Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s being on the ANC election list.  Their objection is based on her having a criminal record, which they argue should make her ineligible based on the IEC code.
• Beeld, p. 2;
• The Citizen, p. 4;
• The Star, p. 6;
• The Times, p. 4; and,
• Sowetan, p. 4.

2. The DA’s request for the SABC to ban the ANC from further elections’ debates on the basis of ANC supporters assaulting DA supporters at the end of an SABC debate. The assault apparently took place outside a University of Johannesburg campus.
• Beeld, p. 6;
• The Citizen, p. 3;
• The Times, p. 4; and,
• The Star, p. 6.

Clearly, if accurate, the behaviour of the ANC supporters needs to be condemned and the supporters held accountable for their actions. The DA is correct to condemn the behaviour, and while the response from the ANC was not included, it is hoped that the ANC will not only condemn the assaults as well, but will also take steps to ensure the supporters are held accountable and appropriate action is taken.

However, why the DA has requested that the SABC ban the ANC from the debates is not clear.  It seems inappropriate to blame media and the SABC, in this instance, for the behaviour of ANC supporters.  If however the violence was as a result of action, or failure to act, by the SABC at or immediately after its debate, clearly the SABC needs to take whatever steps necessary to prevent violence from breaking out. Clearly though, ANC itself should be actively attempting to ensure their supporters behave themselves and not be seen to condone their actions.

For more information please contact Sandra Roberts on 084 9000 344 or 011 788 1278 or William Bird on 082 887 1370.

The Daily Reports are made possible by the Open Society Foundation.

Media Monitoring Africa is acting as impartial observer of the SABC’s elections coverage.

The following media are reviewed in the compilation of this report: Beeld, Daily Sun, Sowetan, The Citizen, The Star, and The Times.