SACP welcomes ANC stance on SABC, calls Hlaudi 'unqualified'

2016-07-06 14:24
SACP members have protested censorship policy at the SABC. (News24)

SACP members have protested censorship policy at the SABC. (News24)

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Johannesburg - The African National Congress has reasserted its values by speaking out against the SABC's revised policy, the SA Communist Party's second deputy general secretary, Solly Mapaila, said on Wednesday.

During a picket outside the broadcaster's Johannesburg offices, Mapaila said the ANC's decision to stand against censorship and the reviewed editorial policy at the public broadcaster was welcomed.

On Tuesday, Jackson Mthembu, chairperson of the ANC's National Executive Committee's sub-committee on communications, told journalists that the ruling party distanced itself from recent SABC policy which banned coverage of violent protests.

Mthembu said the ANC had summoned Communications Minister Faith Muthambi to Luthuli House to explain why it was not consulted on the decision.

"It is very important that the ANC came in that form," Mapaila said.

"It had reasserted its own values... That is the movement we are used to. It cannot allow the ill-treatment of workers. We want to work with them going forward to ensure that there is deeper transformation in this institution," he said.

Mapaila then took a jab at SABC chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng and the SABC board, calling it complacent.

"Our view is very clear. We don’t think he [Motsoeneng] is qualified to lead at the level of COO. I think that has been verified even by the court process to the extent that he rules by fear. It’s quite clear that he isn’t really qualified to do that...

"The main important thing is the capacity of the board to hold management to account on its decision, even on driving the transformation agenda. The board itself is very much complacent," he said.

'Stop apartheid style censorship'

Over 50 SACP supporters dressed in party regalia carried placards which read, "Stop victimising workers”, “Stop apartheid style censorship” and “We the people demand truthful news”.

Mapaila said the SACP stood in solidarity with the workers who were unfairly suspended at SABC. He added that the party wanted to stop the SABC from moving from a public broadcaster to a state broadcaster.

"We want it to remain in the hands of parliament," he said.

The SABC and Motsoeneng have recently come under fire for choosing not to televise violent protests.

On Friday morning, journalists from several media outlets and civil society organisation including the Organisation Against Tax Abuse (OUTA) picketed outside the SABC’s offices in Durban, Johannesburg and Cape Town in support of three journalists who were served with suspension letters last week, as well as against Motsoeneng's censorship of the news.

The three journalists had disagreed with an instruction during a diary conference not to cover a Right2Know protest against censorship at the public broadcaster earlier that week.

This followed the charging of three other SABC employees last Thursday for "liaising with the media" without authorisation from their bosses.

SABC journalist Lukhanyo Calata was also charged on Monday after he joined the Cape Town protest.

In contrast to SACP's statement, OUTA on Wednesday said it was questionable that the ANC had kept mum for so long on censorship at the public broadcaster. 

"We find it quite amusing that after all the prior charges and evidence of Motsoeneng’s questionable and irrational behaviour, leadership within the ANC has the audacity to only now question his conduct.

"We find Muthambi’s lack of action against Motsoeneng rather disdainful and a sign of disrespect to the people of South Africa who are expected to pay for SABC’s services," Outa's chairman Wayne Duvenage said in a statement.

Read more on:    sacp  |  anc  |  sabc  |  media freedom

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