SABC’s Freedom Of Speech And Independence Is Dead Because Of These Reasons


The Communications Minister Faith Muthambi has been implored by the Democratic Alliance (DA) to withdraw the revised editorial policy on South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) which grants COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng absolute control and the final say on the content and programming of the public broadcaster.

According to the DA, a draft version of the policy which was finalized in February this year and approved by the SABC board was not subjected to a thorough public consultation process.

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The disturbing part of the policy is that it makes Hlaudi Motsoeneng issue the final decision on all editorial issues, which means that SABC is no longer independent.

DA’s MP Phumzile van Damme supports the idea that giving Hlaudi Motsoeneng absolute control of SABC’s content will compromise the editorial independence which the broadcasting corporation is supposed to have.

In his analysis, Van Damme described him as a political appointee, duty-bound to the minister.

“It is highly unethical‚ and possibly illegal‚ that despite a promise‚ in writing‚ by the SABC‚ that there would be a draft editorial policy published for public comment‚ this did not happen.

“The Minister must withdraw this policy‚ publish it as a draft policy‚ and conduct fresh public participation in order to redeem herself. Anything less will feed the narrative that she seeks total control of the SABC and will stop at nothing‚ including being unethical to do so‚” Van Damme added.

Lats year, Western Cape High Court ordered that the permanent appointment given to Motsoeneng be set aside.

The matter was taken to court by the DA believing that his promotion in 2014 was irrational and unlawful given the Public Protector’s findings against him and that there is a strong legal case therein.

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The report released by the Public Protector Thuli Madonsela had found Motsoeneng guilty of misrepresenting his qualifications, sacking of senior staff and a lot of other serious irregularities tagged to him.

However, SABC’s Motsoeneng three-count charges were discarded after the corporation’s internal disciplinary committee, chaired by Willem Edeling found him not guilty.

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