South African broadcaster pulls doc

Satirical toon causes net to cancel program, again

Just an hour before the South African Broadcasting Corp. was ready to air a documentary featuring a cartoonist’s scathing satire of South Africa’s new president, execs got cold feet. Again.

For the second time in as many months, the program in question was pulled, this time just an hour before its May 26 showing, apparently over its inclusion of material from Jonathan Shapiro, the cartoonist known as Zapiro. The program included clips from an upcoming satirical TV pilot he produced featuring puppet depictions of Jacob Zuma, inaugurated as president on May 9, who in his puppet self was shown trying to flee from the National Prosecuting Authority.

Zuma has a history with Zapiro. He sued the artist for a cartoon portraying him about to rape “Lady Justice.” It was published last year just as Zuma was facing graft charges, which were later dropped. The rape angle referred to a 2006 case against him. Zuma was found not guilty.

The pubcaster, which pulled the docu just before national elections on April 22, says that its acting CEO, Gab Mampone, “will need to make the final sign-off” before the docu will eventually air. Surely, after all of this, curiosity is piqued.