South African President Jacob Zuma and the country’s senior editors have agreed to improve working relations. The President met members of the South National editors’ Editors Forum (Sanef) at the Presidential Guesthouse in Pretoria earlier on Friday.
The two parties discussed a wide range of issues including the recent jamming of cellular phone signals in Parliament during the presidential State of the Nation Address (SONA) last Thursday.
“We have agreed on a number of issues that to better our relationship and that we should be able to communicate as often as possible. We also took advantage of our meeting to discuss the programmes and agendas of the continent. Taking into account considerations that some of our colleagues from Sanef are participating in the forum of editors in the continent and they are very much working closely with the African Union (AU). So the meeting has been very good, very cordial and we are very happy after this meeting,” says President Zuma.
The meeting was prompted by among others the jamming of cellular phones in Parliament last Thursday
Meanwhile, Sanef says it is committed to have a cordial relationship with government and to solve any problem through negotiations.
The meeting was prompted by among others the jamming of cellular phones in Parliament last Thursday. Sanef Chairperson Mpumelelo Mkhabela explains, “We agreed that things should always be resolved the South African way, through negotiations and conversations, and that doesn’t necessarily mean that we will agree all the time. There are many things that we will disagree on but that’s part of the South Africa we are trying to build.
“Sanef is committed to continue to engage with government and that we welcome the President’s commitment to having more of these kinds of forums. We don’t only have to meet and discuss when there’s a problem. We have to talk even when there are no problems just to have an understanding of how government is progressing in its policies and other things it is doing,” Mkhabela said.
President Zuma also assured editors on Friday that the jamming of cellphone networks in Parliament will not happen again.
“Rest assured that will never happen again and we did not know about it and we are condemning it. It was uncalled for.”
Before Zuma delivered his SONA journalists and some MPs protested that cellphone signals were being blocked in Parliament.
The signals were restored after National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete asked Secretary to Parliament Gengezi Mgidlana to look into the matter.
On Thursday, State Security Minister David Mahlobo said glitches with “counter-surveillance tactical measures” had led to the mobile signal disruptions on the day