Department of Communications Minister Faith Muthambi has come out in support of the SABC and flatly denies that there is any form of censorship at the broadcaster.
Throughout the furore at the SABC minister Muthambi remained noticeably silent. Perhaps this should have remained that way as her comments on Thursday have all but opposed the ANC’s stance on the matter.
The ruling party came out in support of Icasa which ruled that the decision by the SABC to ban protest footage must be reversed.
“Our view is that we are hoping the people in the SABC will realise that to defy everybody in society doesn’t make them a better public broadcaster,” ANC Secretary General, Gwede Mantashe said at the time.
“Icasa is a Chapter 9 institution, it has the authority to make certain decisions. If you defy those decisions, I can tell you that you will learn a hard lesson,” he added.
Muthambi’s comments are in stark contrast to her comrades at the ANC. ““I think I must say upfront, without fear or favour, I like the decision [to ban protest footage] taken by the SABC,” Muthambi said at an event on Thursday.
The minister also expressed her pride in the public broadcaster. “It’s one state-owned company I’m proud of in the sense that they took a decision to say ‘we are not going to allow advertising of the print media, we’ve got our own platforms’.”
A case of déjà vu?
Muthambi also addressed the matter of censorship in much the same way SABC chief operating officer, Hlaudi Motesoeneng approached the topic.
“People have been discussing this debate of censorship. There has been a hype and the people are saying where is the minister of communications, why is she so quiet? Not that we don’t know what to say,” said Muthambi according to Business Day.”But censorship? I don’t know what you mean by censorship.”
Earlier this month the ANC called on Muthambi to visit Luthuli House to discuss the sheningans at the SABC. She didn’t turn up for that meeting.
In October 2015, Muthambi failed to attend a subcommittee meeting in which she was required to explain why she ignored the party’s policy on digital TV encryption. Last year Muthambi decided of her own accord that set-top boxes would not use an encrypted signal, a decision opposed by many including the ANC.[Via – Business Day]