Communications Minister, Faith Muthambi tabled the Broadcasting Amendment Bill before parliament on Friday. The bill, if passed, could see the SABC fall under complete control of the ANC.
A statement issued by the Democratic Alliance’s Shadow Minister of Communications Phumzile van Damme sheds light on some of the more controversial points of the bill, particularly the removal of Parliament’s role in the appointment of SABC non-executive board members.
According to van Damme, should this billed be passed South Africa would “…see the last vestige of independence removed from the SABC, paving the way for it to become a ANC-government propaganda tool under the control of Minister Muthambi.”
Elsewhere in the bill the number of non-executive board members that could be appointed has been reduced from 12 to nine.
The number of members needed to form a quorum will also be reduced from nine to seven, and the changing of the process for re-appointment, removal and resignation of a non-executive board member will change should the bill be passed
National newspaper The Sunday Times reports that the bill has already been approved by the Presidential cabinet with Minister in the Presidency, Jeff Radebe, announcing the submission to Parliament saying it would “implement a stable corporate governance model that ensures long-term stability and sustainability of the SABC.”
We spoke to Sekhoetlane Phamodi, National Co-ordinator at SOS: Support Public Broadcasting who said, “[Should this bill pass]… the SABC will be used as it was during the Apartheid regime and this is something we cannot accept.” Phamodi goes on to say “This bill compromises the integrity of the SABC, turning it into state entity which is an affront to the values of the broadcaster which 7 million households depend on for information.”
The DA has said that it will vehemently oppose the bill and SOS has said that should the bill pass, they will approach the constitutional court to challenge it.[Image CC by 2.0 – Jose Maria Cuellar]