Call for judicial commission of inquiry into SABC

2016-07-08 21:10
Former SABC employee Cobus Bester and senior SABC staff members protest the suspension of their three colleagues. (Pictures: Facebook)

Former SABC employee Cobus Bester and senior SABC staff members protest the suspension of their three colleagues. (Pictures: Facebook)

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Johannesburg - A group of prominent foundations representing "illustrious South Africans" including Desmond and Leah Tutu, Chief Albert Luthuli and Thabo Mbeki among others, have called for a judicial commission of inquiry into the SABC.

The Foundations Initiative (TFI) made the call on Friday for President Jacob Zuma to constitute a judicial commission of inquiry to review and make recommendations concerning the public broadcaster's corporate governance systems, operations, adherence or otherwise to the Constitution, the Broadcasting Act, the SABC charter and all relevant labour legislation.

It said in a statement that certain elements within the SABC have established a "deeply troubling practice".

TFI said the Public Protector and the courts have already made adverse findings against the SABC's COO, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, which Communications Minister Faith Muthambi and the SABC board have ignored.

It said "elements within the SABC have established a deeply troubling practice of flouting corporate governance principles".

Motsoeneng's decision to censor the broadcasting of violent protests in the country was also lambasted.

Stifling open debate

"The SABC's or more accurately, Mr Motsoeneng's arbitrary decision to censor the broadcast of violent protests in the country takes the breach to new levels, and offends against the Constitution of the Republic, the Broadcasting Act, the SABC charter and basic democratic ethos, all of which enjoin the SABC to inform the nation in a scrupulously fair, impartial and accurate manner."

It said the SABC is stifling open debate and the free flow of information and ideas.

"This threatens the very essence of our democracy."

The foundation feels that only the Independent Communication Authority of South Africa (Icasa) or the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) can justify the censoring of broadcasts on the public broadcaster.

The foundation added that there are similar governance breaches at the National Directorate of Public Prosecutions, the South African Police Service, the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks), the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID), Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa), South African Airways, the South African Post Office, the South African Revenue Service, the National Energy Fund, PetroSA and now recently, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

"We also note that other public institutions have experienced or are experiencing similar governance breaches and leadership failures. These include but are not limited to the unceremonious coerced departure of senior personnel, often resulting in a leadership vacuum, questionable procurement and other ill-advised decisions as well as appointments of people of doubtful backgrounds, qualifications and abilities."

Read more on:    sabc  |  hlaudi motsoeneng  |  desmond tutu  |  thabo mbeki  |  faith muthambi  |  media

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