Muthambi to answer to the ANC for SABC snafu

 ·11 Jul 2016

Communications Minister Faith Muthambi will attend a meeting at Luthuli House on Monday where she is expected to be told to take action against the SABC board, ANC communications sub-committee member Jackson Mthembu told the Sunday Times.

Muthambi is part of the committee that is chaired by Mthembu.

The SABC board has thus far been supporting Hlaudi Motsoeneng, the national broadcaster’s chief operations officer.

But now Mthembu says the ANC will tell the minister to also act against Motsoeneng for banning the coverage of violent protests.

The political tide appears to have begun to turn against the SABC’s leaders following a media briefing by the ANC last week in which it suggested that the broadcaster was in contravention of the Constitution as well as ANC policy.

“If you put a blanket ban on the coverage and footage of what is already burning, you are in conflict with the Constitution,” Mthembu previously said. He had also criticised management at the SABC as “lacking”.

Muthambi is largely perceived to be Motsoeneng’s last line of defence.

Motsoeneng’s in May announced the SABC would no longer show footage of the destruction of property during protests. He argued that showing such material would encourage others to do the same.

Following Motsoeneng’s announcement in May, acting SABC CEO Jimi Matthews resigned at the end of June, citing a climate of censorship Motsoeneng had fostered, as well as political pandering. Matthews later claimed coverage of opposition party, the EFF, had been sidelined.

Eight journalists were also suspended after they chose to speak out about their concerns with the public broadcaster’s editorial policies under Motsoeneng’s leadership.

The journalists from the SABC are currently facing disciplinary hearings. The journalists were each awarded the Nat Nakasa Award on Saturday.

The award is made to individuals working in the broadcast, online or print media who show exceptional integrity and courage in their work.


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