SABC becoming a state-run broadcaster - DA


Democratic Alliance (DA) Shadow Minister for Communications, Gavin Davis, has slammed Communications Minister Faith Muthambi’s decision to sign a secret memorandum, which reportedly strips the SABC Board of all its powers and hands full control of the broadcaster to her and its controversial Chief Operations Officer, Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

“If allowed to stand, this Memorandum will turn the SABC from a public broadcaster into a state broadcaster. It is not an exaggeration to say that this ‘hostile takeover’ poses the gravest threat to SABC independence since 1994,” Davis said in a statement on the DA’s website.

Citing examples from the Memorandum of Incorporation (MOI), Davis said that Section 5 requires the Board to seek approval from Muthambi before any changes relating to the running of the broadcaster are made, while Section 13.5.7 gives absolute authority to the minister and, as stated in Section 13.6.3, the Board can only impose/seek disciplinary action against the CEO, COO and CFO with the approval of the minister.

“In short, the MIO removes the power of the Board to run the SABC, and puts in place a set of rules to ensure the protection and promotion of Hlaudi Motsoeneng. The implications of this MOI are profound for the independence of our public broadcaster and, by extension, our constitutional democracy,” Davis said.

“The Board cannot sit back and allow the Minister and Motsoeneng to usurp their powers. But the responsibility to protect the SABC’s independence rests with every South African,” he said, adding that he had already written a letter to the broadcaster’s Acting Board Chairperson, Prof Mbulaheni Obert Maguvhe, to enquire why the MIO had never been presented or discussed beforehand.