8 November 2017

South Africa: DA Welcomes SABC Board's Stance Against New Communications Minister

press release

The DA welcomes the new SABC's board's commitment to protect the public broadcaster's independence, as expressed in a statement this morning.

In the statement, Chairperson of SABC board, Bongumusa Makhathini indicated that the SABC will be seeking a legal opinion on the appointment of its top executives, as well as the pending appeal by the Communications Minister, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane's against a court judgment asserting the public broadcaster's independence.

The SABC board's decision to seek its own legal advice on these important matters comes at a time when the public broadcaster's independence once again hangs in the balance, under serious threat of political capture by the ANC.

We are re-assured that the board is demonstrating an intention to side with the law regarding the governance of the public broadcaster, and not the ANC or government.

We hope that our faith is not misplaced.

It became very apparent at yesterday's meeting of the Portfolio Committee on Communications in Parliament, that Minister Kubayi-Ngubane was eager to follow in Faith Muthambi's footsteps and re-capture the SABC, and that she was reshuffled to the portfolio for this purpose.

In fact, she even went so far as to instruct the SABC board members present at the meeting, including Makhathini not to respond to questions from MPs.

It was disappointing to see the SABC board members not standing up for themselves, the law and the SABC and allowing the Minister to bully them. We trust that this will never happen again.

The DA urges the board to act as firm bulwarks against political interference at the SABC and act as custodians of the public broadcaster, which belongs to the South African people and not the ANC.

We will keep a close eye on developments as it is clear that the new Communications Minister and the ANC are on course to undo all the progress we have made in the past few months.

The DA will continue to fight to protect the independence of the public broadcaster and will not stand idly by as Zuma cronies push their political agendas, and plunge the SABC into crisis again

Phumzile Van Damme MP

DA Shadow Minister of Communications

South Africa

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