Taxpayer cash to polish Minister Dlamini’s brand was well spent at SABC‚ department reckons

Department of Social Development spokesperson Lumka Oliphant has confirmed the department paid R5-million to the SABC for media exposure‚ including R149‚000 for the public broadcaster to interview the Social Development Minister.

Oliphant made the disclosures to talkshow host Bongani Bingwa on 702 Talk Radio.

Daily Maverick reported this week that half-a-million rand was paid for SABC host Anele Mdoda to interview Bathabile Dlamini on a light-hearted entertainment show.

The department initially denied the claim and said : “The reports which are completely untrue are a display of gutter journalism to destroy anyone who dares to give a different narrative on Minister Bathabile Dlamini.”

But Oliphant made an about-turn on air on Thursday morning and said R149‚000 was paid to the SABC for this interview – which focused on Dlamini’s friends and family.

Oliphant feels the media won’t give the department of social development’s side of the story. “We are in a very hostile environment.”

“No matter how many times‚ Bongani‚ we say she doesn’t drink . . . people say she drinks.

“We had a clean audit for five years‚ nobody is interested in (crediting) Bathabile Dlamini (for) clean audits.”

Bingwa told her: “This was a puff piece about what a wonderful person she is.”

Oliphant continued to defend the payment.

Oliphant said in a statement the R5-million was well-spent at the SABC.

“To date‚ through Government Communication and Information Systems‚ the department has transferred more than R5-million to the SABC for this purpose and we will not be apologetic for investing in the SABC. The SABC gives us space across all its platforms on radio‚ TV and online media. They give us a schedule to agree and be available for.”

The Democratic Alliance commented: “If these allegations are true‚ the minister must personally pay back the money”.

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