Cosatu won’t touch SABC

Sdumo Dlamini
Sdumo Dlamini

Trade federation Cosatu has washed its hands of the unfolding labour issues at the SABC, saying no one had asked for its help.

Speaking to City Press yesterday following a deafening silence from the trade federation, Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini said the union would not “swim in muddy waters”.

Dlamini said the issues being raised at the SABC had become convoluted. More pertinently, it was not clear whether the issue pertained to labour matters or politics. If the concern was the former, then they would step in, he said.

“Ordinarily, we would be approached for help like we were by the Generations [soapie] cast.

“Maybe they chose [former Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima] Vavi, maybe they thought he could better help. I know for a fact he is friends with many of them, they spoke,” he said, implying another agenda was at play.

Dlamini said they would take direction from the Communication Workers Union.

When asked about the sustained allegations of censorship at the SABC, Dlamini said it was worrying but boiled down to the fact that the media needed to be regulated because self-regulation did not work.

Solidarity union this week stepped into the fray and threatened to take legal acton against the SABC if it did not reinstate three suspended journalists.

The SABC controversy has exposed fresh divisions in the ANC-led tripartite alliance over how to handle the unpredictable SABC chief operating officer, Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

SA Communist Party (SACP) spokesperson Solly Mapaila has called for action to ensure that suspended staff are reinstated.

But ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa has been on a week-long crusade to save the SABC’s “integrity” from being “attacked”.

Mapaila said this week that the immediate task was to ensure no effort was spared in ensuring that the suspended staff were reinstated.

He further expressed a need to “deal with the suspensions and victimisation of workers and bring to an end the ongoing administrative and governance decay at the SABC, including the recent draconian editorial policy”.

The SACP has also indicated that it will march on the SABC this week.

Humphrey Maxegwana – chairperson of Parliament’s communications portfolio committee – has insisted that no special meeting would be convened to discuss the SABC, despite a DA request to that effect.

Maxegwana said that they had a scheduled a meeting with the department of communications for August 23.

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