ANC Chief Whip Jackson Mthembu has formally submitted a complaint against ANN7 to the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA), alleging the channel "colluded" with members of parliament to broadcast "defamatory" remarks against him.
Mthembu, in the early hours of Wednesday morning, lambasted ANN7 on Twitter, saying six ANC MPs featured on a televised panel had made "defamatory utterances" against him and evidence leader in the Public Enterprises portfolio committee, Advocate Ntuthuzelo Vanara.
In a statement released on Wednesday afternoon, Mthembu wrote the broadcaster failed to be "fair, impartial and objective" during a broadcast in which he was said to have sided with the "racist Democratic Alliance (DA) on a biased parliamentary debate on state capture... showing a pro white monopoly capital faction has emerged inside the ANC caucus".
Its evident that the attack on my person is occassioned by my unwavering support to @eskomenquiry currently underway @Parliament .— Jackson Mthembu (@JacksonMthembu_) November 29, 2017
Mthembu wrote that ANN7 "repeatedly ran this broadcast over two days and published defamatory comments" without offering him right of reply.
The statement also alleges a "so-called press conference" broadcast on Monday on the channel was staged, adding that his office has the information to prove it.
ANN7 was strangely the only media present at this Presser. We have further information that those who called the press conference were directly communicating with someone at ANN7 while crafting what ought to go into their statement.
Mthembu has requested the BCCSA to rule on ANN7's "behaviour" which he said is in contravention of the Commission's code of conduct.
ANN7's owner, Mzwanele Manyi, apologised directly to Mthembu via Twitter this morning, saying the channel would play an apology throughout the day and offer him right of reply.
Dear Cde @JacksonMthembu_ The word embarrasment does not even begin to describe how I feel about what @ANN7tv did to you. ANN7 WILL play an apology throughout the day. AND your right of reply when you are ready. Internal Disciplinary proceedings will be unleashed.— Mzwanele Manyi (@MzwaneleManyi) November 29, 2017
Mthembu later responded to Manyi on Twitter, thanking him for calling him and "understanding my pain".
"I appreciate the steps you are taking," Mthembu wrote to Manyi.