SABC is to open a bureau in Harare to enhance its coverage of events in the country. According to the broadcaster this will enable it to tell what it considers to be the 'true Zimbabwean story'.
SABC Managing Director Snuki Zikalala met Zimbabwean Information Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu to discuss the establishment of the office. Zikalala was accompanied by Supa Mandiwanzira, the chief executive of Mighty Movies, which currently represents SABC in Zimbabwe.
It is a very important story. Its a story that is unfolding and there are a lot of good stories in Zimbabwe that need coverage, said Zikalala. The setting up and operation of the office will occur in April 2008 in time to cover the Zimbabwean elections.
Zikalala pointed out that Arab TV broadcaster, Al Jazeera was operating from Zimbabwe already and it was important for the South African broadcaster to have a presence in that country as well.
Zikalala said the SABC planned to appoint journalists to cover next years presidential and general elections and the accreditation of these journalists had been discussed with the Zimbabwean minister.
We brought 54 South African journalists to cover the last elections and we are likely to bring the same number to cover next years elections, he said.
Minister Ndlovu welcomed the proposal by SABC. Its a good idea and, as government, it shows us that we are not operating in isolation, he said. (In the past few years the Zimbabwean government has evicted a number of foreign journalist who reported on the political and economic upheaval in that country.)
SABC has offices in other African countries including Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Senegal and Kenya.