The Portfolio Committee on Communications (PCC) has dismissed calls for an inquiry to probe ongoing issues at the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC).
This comes after a presentation by Communications Minister Faith Muthambi and the SABC top brass to the PCC at the Old Assembly on Tuesday.
Committee chairperson Humphrey Maxengwana said the committee was satisfied with the explanation of the public broadcaster’s management and the Minister on the “perceived ongoing crisis” at the SABC.
“After the presentation by Minister Muthambi, the SABC Board and management, as a committee, we came to a conclusion that there will be no inquiry to probe the SABC.
“We want to make it clear that as a committee, we are not going to get into a process of establishing a Commission of Inquiry,” Maxengwana said.
Briefing the committee, Minister Muthambi said she has noted calls made for her to intervene in the affairs of the SABC, which include the broadcaster’s editorial policy.
Minister Muthambi on Monday said the Ministry of Communications would not intervene in the internal matters of the SABC that have been reported on in recent weeks.
“We deliberately decided not to pursue an interventionist stance as the Ministry. Our view is that these are in fact operational issues which need to be resolved by the Board as the accounting authority for the Corporation,” said the Minister.
SABC News Editorial Policy
In her presentation to the PCC on Tuesday, Minister Muthambi said the SABC is required, in terms of the Broadcasting Act, to develop its news and editorial policies.
The act also makes provision for the SABC to ensure that there is public participation in the development of such a policy by inviting and considering public comments on such draft policies and by other means
“This provision, as required by section 5(a) of the act, was complied with by the SABC to ensure compliance with the SABC’s licence conditions, in relation to the News Editorial Policy,” said the Minister.
She said a process of public consultation was undertaken as part of the initial review process in 2013 and early 2014.
“In the preparation of the policy, the Board ensured that there was sufficient public participation and public input in the development of the policy, in line with section 6 and 7 of the act, as part of the SABC’s continued role of upholding the latter of the law.
“Stakeholder engagements were held with more than 30 organisations and interest groups from across the country and this was followed by 17 public hearings,” the Minister said.