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BCCSA On Tumi Morake: Co-Host Martin Bester 'Prompted Her Comments'

"The complainants targeted Morake's comments, but the discussion was engineered and shaped (to a certain extent) by her co-presenter."

21/11/2017 15:37 SAST | Updated 21/11/2017 15:37 SAST
JacarandaFM
Tumi Morake and Martin Bester

The detailed Broadcasting Complaints Commission judgment in the Jacaranda FM case reveals that breakfast show host Tumi Morake might have been the one most in the spotlight for her "bicycle" analogy, but that her co-host, Martin Bester, prompted her to make the comments that have now become controversial.

"The complainants targeted Morake's comments, but the discussion was engineered and shaped (to a certain extent) by her co-presenter," writes commission deputy chair Professor Sunette Lötter in her judgment.

A case was opened after 55 complaints were lodged by Jacaranda FM listeners, who said they believed Tumi's comments were discriminatory toward white people and amounted to hate speech.

Also Read: BCCSA Rules In Favour of Tumi Morake and JacarandaFM

The comments were made during a conversation between the duo about Johan de Villiers, an expat living in Amsterdam, who at the time was encouraging people to boycott Steve Hofmeyr's international tour. A listener dialled in to say the nation should stick together, to which Morake responded, "Amen, brother!"

But Bester then responded by saying that he disagrees, criticising the concept of a rainbow nation and saying it misled people into thinking that we are all the same. He then indicated that it should be okay to be different.

The judgment reminds that Tumi did not respond immediately, but after some encouragement from Martin she agreed and said, "I hear you -- it should be about the nation." She then justified her comment by saying South Africans should stand together.

"Breakfast shows should be mindful of the possible consequences when introducing sensitive matters."

Martin reiterated that it should be okay to be different. This, according to the commission, "elicits Tumi's response that that would be a whole different show and it would become ugly (if it was about individuals)".

"Martin upped the ante by saying that we are not all the same. When Tumi refrained from commenting, he prompted her to respond, which response ended with the controversial bully metaphor," the judgment continues.

Before making the bicycle analogy, she expanded on her views and explained that Hofmeyr was not always as "defensive" as he has been portrayed.

"Her explanation for his change in behaviour is that his perspective is that white people are under threat and that the Afrikaner nation as a culture is under threat, and if you are under threat, you attack," the judgement states.

She then made the bicycle analogy, which became the focus point of listener complaints.

"You broke down a people on skin colour before you build them up. You are now saying they must just share with everybody and be friends with everybody," Tumi said.

She continued: "It's like a child whose bicycle was taken forcefully away from him, and then you say to the bully, 'no, no, no, share the bike together, don't be like that.'"

Also Read: Tumi Morake Is Bombarded With Hate Mail For Her Views On Apartheid, But She's Standing Her Ground

Martin then agreed and continued to probe Tumi on whether one could defend without causing offence.

"Here's a question for you. Can you defend something without offending something else?" he asked.

Morake agreed and responded, "But it's not about defending because that's where the problem becomes... It's in the language. You're not defending it".

"Exactly what you said right now; that it's the way that you do it. It's not what you are doing. No one is gonna say don't stand up for people," Martin responded.

In her response, Tumi said it is not the defending that is the problem but the language that is used. Martin agreed that it is the way in which it is said and came to the conclusion that one should not antagonise people in expressing your views.

The judgment warns that both radio hosts were "skating on thin ice".

"Breakfast shows should be mindful of the possible consequences when introducing sensitive matters," the judgment concluded.