Johannesburg – Those who shone a light on the shenanigans at the SABC are helping to save the country, the Save South Africa (SSA) campaign said on Tuesday.
“They have done a great service to our democracy by outlining to Parliament the destructive influence of multiple officer-bearers, Hlaudi Motsoeneng and the group known as his enforcers,” it said in a statement.
Parliament is currently holding an inquiry into the SABC’s board's fitness to hold office. It consists of one person - its chairperson Mbulaheni Maguvhe.
Several executives and senior staffers have given testimony to the committee. Eight staffers, who questioned former COO Motsoeneng’s decision to ban airing footage of violent protests, told MPs how they had to operate in a difficult environment, where unlawful policy decisions were passed at whim.
“We are particularly proud of the so-called SABC 8, who have withstood pressure and threats to expose the erosion of editorial values at the SABC,” the SSA said.
They had highlighted the “illicit nexus” between Motsoeneng and what the SSA called the architects of state capture, the Gupta family.
The campaign had been mobilising support against President Jacob Zuma and calling for his removal.
During proceedings at Parliament’s ad hoc committee investigating the SABC’s board, SABC parliamentary journalist Lukhanyo Calata said it was an open secret that Zuma was protecting Motsoeneng.
Another member of the SABC 8, Vuyo Mvoko, was courageous in exposing how state resources were diverted from the public broadcaster to the Guptas' private media assets, SSA said.
Mvoko’s testimony was yet another disgusting example of the extent of the Guptas’ influence, which Zuma encouraged, that had extended into public institutions.
SSA urged more whistleblowers to speak out against state capture at the public broadcaster.
It wanted answers from board members who had been complicit in some of the incidents. Most importantly, it wanted Communications Minister Faith Muthambi and Zuma to step down.