The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has condemned the Department of Social Development for paying a reported R500 000 to the SABC to hold an interview with Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini.
SABC acting group CEO Nomsa Philiso confirmed on Wednesday that the department paid for Dlamini and spokesperson Lumka Oliphant to appear on Real Talk with Anele in December.
Philiso was looking into the details of what had transpired, and was speaking to the relevant departments to get to the bottom of the matter, saying the practice was "not normal".
The EFF on Thursday criticised the justifications for the fee, saying Dlamini paid the figure to simply "talk about herself".
"Eighty percent of the interview was about herself and the ANC Women's League, and its now failed Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma [campaigning].
"In essence, taxpayers' money was used to profile Bathabile Dlamini and not government, social development work.
The SABC must pay back the money as it is complicit in the corruption of the minister.
They also rejected the explanation that Dlamini's interview was "an advert for the work she does in government," he continued.
"This is consistent with how ministers in general have been paying Gupta Business Breakfast on SABC for interviews," EFF spokesperson Dr Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said.
He listed nine other ministers who had also appeared on the TNA breakfast show, and questioned if there were appearance fees paid there too.
The party called on the SABC board to immediately institute an investigation into the matter and lay charges against those found guilty. They also called on Parliament to take the necessary steps to discipline Dlamini.
'We will not be apologetic'
The Daily Maverick on Wednesday reported that Oliphant allegedly contacted presenter Anele Mdoda, before pitching it to now retired chief director, Oupa Ramachela.
He reportedly rejected it, but acting chief director and head of legal services advocate Nkosinathi Dladla later gave it the go-ahead, for an apparent fee of R500 000.
Oliphant replied in a statement that the allegations were "a display of gutter journalism to destroy anyone who dares to give a different narrative on minister Bathabile Dlamini".
"To date, through GCIS, the department has transferred more than R5m to the SABC for this purpose and we will not be apologetic for investing in the SABC," Oliphant said.
"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."
Mdoda said the furore had nothing to do with her or her on-air team, as it is commissioned by the SABC.
Dlamini meanwhile dodged journalists on Thursday, following an event at the SABC, where she was acknowledging the academic performances of social grant beneficiaries who wrote matric in 2017.