Parliament’s Portfolio Committee of Communications has agreed with the DA that an inquiry into “institutional rot at the SABC” is indeed “necessary and urgent”.

The DA’s national spokesperson, Phumzile van Damme revealed that the committee had today expressed support for an urgent inquiry into the public broadcaster, requested by the party over two months, after The Editors show on SAfm was abruptly canned.

“I requested a full inquiry into the SABC in terms of Rule 227 (1) (c) of the National Assembly Rules, which gives powers to the Portfolio Committees to ‘monitor, investigate, enquire into and make recommendations concerning any such executive organ of the state, constitutional institution or body or institution…’,” van Damme said.

A month later, the request was denied by Parliament’s Chair of Chairs, Cedric Frolick.

Shortly after the ANC’s parliamentary Chief Whip, Jackson Mthembu publicly lambasted the SABC last month, the inquiry, which would see Muthambi being brought before parliament, was mooted for sometime this month.

“The Chairperson of the Committee, Humphrey Maxegwana, and other members of the Committee expressed support for such an inquiry, and indicated that a request would be dispatched to Parliament’s Chair of Chairs, Cedric Frolick,” van Damme said, adding that Frolick should now, without delay, give effect to the mandate of the committee.

More signs of micro-management emerge

According to trade union BEMAWU, the SABC expressed shock and concern today after hearing that staff who want to travel overseas for work-related matters, must first get the go-ahead from Minister of Communications, Faith Muthambi.

“Has the SABC now being placed under Ministerial Management? Is this a vote of no confidence in the SABC Board and management of the SABC and is this an admission that something seriously is wrong with the management of the SABC?,” it said.

“…the Minister can NEVER step into the shoes of management for various reasons – the most important one, corporate governance. Who is going to oversee the minister’s decisions? What is next?…No Minister can ever get operationally involved in an entity such as the SABC or for that matter any public institution. Not even the Board is allowed to get operationally involved in the day-to-day running and management of the SABC,” BEMAWU added.

The trade union said it’s demanding “that this instruction be withdrawn with immediate effect, and that management be allowed to manage” the public broadcaster”.