Mandela videos are ours, ANC tells SABC

Regulation & Policy

The ANC and the SABC are fighting over ownership of historic video footage - including unseen images of former president Nelson Mandela and film of his wedding to Graça Machel. The ruling party has threatened to take legal action to get the material.

The extensive footage also includes behind-the-scenes footage of ANC activities during the apartheid era and shortly after its unbanning in 1990.  The Sunday Times has seen the correspondence between the SABC and ANC deputy secretary-general Thandi Modise. In it Modise demands that the public broadcaster return the "priceless" tapes; she even sought the intervention of former Communications Minister Siphiwe Nyanda.

In one letter, Modise tells Nyanda that her frustration at the SABC's lack of action may leave the ANC with no option but to go to court. "I am forced to burden your extremely busy schedule with a request for advice on how we may proceed in our quest for a remedy, which we wish should not include judicial intervention," Modise wrote.

The tapes ended up with the SABC thanks to former ANC employee Rapitse Montsho, who had worked in the party's video unit. This followed a verbal agreement between Montsho - the SABC's general manager of news resources at the time - and the ANC that the SABC would use the material for documentaries.

Montsho is under suspension for trying to remove the tapes from the SABC building.
The MK Veterans Association is also demanding the return of material on Solomon Mahlangu, which it gave to the SABC last year on the 30th anniversary of his execution.