Cape Town – A studio guest admits he started smoking dagga live on the air on The Newsroom on the SABC's 24-hour TV news channel, SABC News (DStv 404) on MultiChoice's DStv, on Monday during an interview about the legalisation of cannabis in South Africa.
The on-air incident came in the same programme on SABC News, The Newsroom, a month after the show's regular anchor Eben Jansen was caught in an on-air outburst during an interview with the EFF spokesperson which quickly degenerated and which saw Jansen suspended indefinitely after the SABC said he wasn't emotionally fit to be on air.
Although it is illegal to smoke inside and with smoking not allowed in SABC buildings and definitely not inside SABC studios, Andre du Plessis, head of the Cannabis Working Group, suddenly lit up a dagga joint on SABC News and started smoking and puffing while The Newsroom cameras kept him on the air and showing his dagga smoking to viewers.
According to South Africa's existing cannabis law, dagga, known also as "marijuana" and "weed" remains illegal in the country.
On Monday Du Plessis was sparring live on SABC News with David Bayever, deputy chairperson of the Central Drug Authority (CDA) over the legalisation or not of dagga.
SABC News went back to a puffing Du Plessis, for any possible "closing comments" but he blew smoke at the camera, saying "that's all I got to say" after which the camera followed him as he got up, pulled his ear piece out, and walked off camera and out of the studio.
"The SABC broadcaster and the SABC Newsroom do not condone the actions of our guest Andre du Plessis," said the SABC after the incident and that the views expressed during the interview were not those of the SABC but that of the guests.
Later on Monday in an interview with rival 24-hour TV news channel eNCA (DStv 403), Du Plessis admitted that he was smoking dagga. "I'm going to admit it. During the live interview [on SABC News] you saw the pictures of people smoking it in Cape Town".
"The only thing I could do was really sit back and smoke a joint," Du Plessis said.
Listen to the interview here. Warning: Audio contains explicit language.
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