The ANC Youth League in eThekwini has weighed in on the Zuma the ‘Zombie’ incident that rocked SABC’s Indian lifestyle station Lotus FM. Popular presenter Ravi Govender who’s been with the station for 13 years presenting the Vinyl Countdown was fired for his comments on social media.
He was called out on his social media post after he described President Jacob Zuma a ‘zombie’ for his use of the English language during a speech at the ANC National Policy conference.
According to a report in the Sunday Tribune, ANCYL regional spokesperson, Thulisa Ndlela, said Govender’s “Zombie Zuma” Facebook comment constituted a hateful personal attack that could incite conflict.
“He’s not arrested? He belongs in jail,” Ndlela said.
Following the opening of the ANC National Policy Conference, Ravi Govender posted this statement on his facebook page: “Just heard a Zombie Zuma giving a speech on the news. Massacring the beautiful English language….Uneducated creature. Even the other moron Mugabe speaks much better.”
Ndlela said: “Everyone has a right to fair comment and to criticise the president’s speech, but don’t engage on the delivery because that is characterization.
“It’s a known fact that the president does not have a formal education, but there is no need to raise it constantly. What are you saying about those of us who are led by him and voted for him?” he asked.
“If we don’t change the way we engage, we will be no different from countries locked in civil war. Govender’s comments are not representative of the Indian community.”
Ravi Govender retracted his statement on social media with an apology.
The ANCYL’s regional secretary, Thinta Cibane, said terminating Govender’s SABC contract was punishment enough.
“We think it’s a sign that things are going in the right direction. It’s impractical for somebody to work at a state entity and use that (platform) to defame the government,” he said.
Cibane said while the organisation subscribed to free speech, as entrenched in the constitution, it must come with responsibility.
“We believe people in powerful or influential positions should behave responsibly.”
Govender said he had apologised profusely on many platforms. “It was an error on my part and I take responsibility. I didn’t criticise the man, I criticised his delivery of the speech.”
Hoosen said the DA had information that the instruction to fire Govender came from a politically-influenced higher authority.
Soon after the news broke that the popular radio station DJ had been given the marching orders, DA shadow Minister of Communications, Phumzile Van Damme took to Twitter.
‘Not this again. The SABC has been doing well. Pressure from the Zuma family, and it all falls apart. Tomorrow morning we deal with this.’
Not this again. The SABC has been doing well. Pressure from the Zuma family, and it all falls apart. Tomorrow morning we deal with this. https://t.co/P9SC0Wrp0U
— Phumzile Van Damme (@zilevandamme) July 3, 2017
On Wednesday, the DA delivered a letter suggesting political interference in the matter.
The DA’s KwaZulu-Natal chairperson, Haniff Hoosen, said: “We understand the circumstances, but our main concern is who instructed the SABC to take action.”
Sources: IOL, Twitter, Facebook