SABC empowers citizens with a variety of news – Faith Muthambi

2014-08-06 10:59

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The SABC broadcasts a variety of news that helps deepen democracy, Communications Minister Faith Muthambi has said.

“On the news front, the Broadcasting Act commits the SABC to a plurality of views and a variety of news, information, and analysis from a South African point of view,” she said in an opinion piece in The New Age today.

“The corporation’s content must allow citizens to exercise their rights and reflect the rich diversity of a united society.”

She said the broadcaster played a crucial development role in the country.

“The public broadcaster empowers citizens to interact better with the institutions of society and deepen the democratisation of the country.

“It ensures that citizens can make responsible and informed choices.”

Muthambi said in the past 20 years, the SABC had to undergo dramatic change from an “apartheid mouthpiece” to “the voice of the people”.

“The SABC has in many respects helped to move us closer towards a national identity built on mutual respect, tolerance and acceptance,” she said.

Last month, the Economic Freedom Fighters accused the SABC of withdrawing its promise to provide live coverage of the party’s one-year anniversary in Soweto.

The party said the SABC had pulled out at the 11th hour.

At the time, SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said he was not aware of the matter.

The EFF said it seemed the broadcaster was only committed to events held by the ruling African National Congress.

“Its major programmes only cater for the ruling party,” EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said.

“The SABC is supposed to be a public broadcaster, and serve the interests of the entire citizenry equitably.”

In the run-up to the May election, the DA accused the broadcaster of bias for refusing it live coverage but devoting a two-hour live broadcast to the ANC’s final election rally in Johannesburg.

In recent months, Muthambi and the SABC board have also come under heavy criticism over the permanent appointment of Hlaudi Motsoeneng as chief operations officer.

In early July, Muthambi announced Motsoeneng’s appointment, saying the decision was taken following a recommendation by the SABC board. She said he was cleared of all wrongdoing by a legal firm before being appointed permanently.

The DA launched a high court bid to have the appointment set aside.

Muthambi has filed court papers opposing it.

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