SA must be alarmed by 'recapture of SABC' for political purposes - activist

South Africans should be concerned about the alleged political interference taking place at the SABC, says activist Sekoetlane Phamodi.

Four SABC board members have resigned amid rising tensions over the retrenchment of workers at the public broadcaster.

Presenter Eusebius McKaiser facilitated a discussion on the state of affairs at the SABC with multiple guests.

Phamodi, a freedom of expression activist, says the SABC is one of the country's biggest employers - with over 3000 permanent staff and contracted freelancers and production companies.

Read: New Comms minister could be overstepping powers in SABC retrenchment saga - SOS

The SOS Coalition's Duduetsang Makuse says there's a stalemate between the Minister of Communications Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams and the SABC

She says Parliament's portfolio committee on communications needs to rein in the minister who appears to be making decisions on its behalf.

She adds that the committee, the SABC board and the minister are talking past each other at this crucial decision-making time.

Also read: 'The SABC board was set up to fail' - Right2Know

Broadcasting union Bemawu says the portfolio committee on communications has failed in its oversight role at the corporation.

Bemawu's president Hannes du Buisson says the government is to blame for the state of the SABC.

Meanwhile, ANC MP and committee member Mziwamadoda Kalako claims that none of the board resignations are directly linked to the minister's actions.

He says the committee proposed that the SABC relook its staff complement as a big portion of its budget goes to salaries.

Read more: The biggest problem at the SABC is money - EFF's Mbuyiseni Ndlozi

There's a tension in the relationship [between the SABC and minister] that needs to be resolved in everyone's interest.

Duduetsang Makuse, National Co-coordinator at the SOS Coalition

The minister came into a conversation that's already been playing out for a couple of months... she ends up aggravating the situation.

Duduetsang Makuse, National Co-coordinator at the SOS Coalition

She was engaging staff and unions on an operational matter. Had she come to the SABC with the committee members, it would have been better. It wouldn't have looked like a political actor with a political agenda to deal with operational matters.

Duduetsang Makuse, National Co-coordinator at the SOS Coalition

The new dawn is premised on jobs, economic growth and the stability of public institutions... So to lose jobs at one of the country's major employers at this juncture will cause great consternation among the people of SA.

Sekoetlane Phamodi, Freedom of Expression Activist

We all do need to be alarmed as a nation about the recapture of our SABC for political purposes.

Sekoetlane Phamodi, Freedom of Expression Activist

Both the minister and the board report to us as a committee.

Mziwamadoda Kalako, ANC MP and Member Portfolio Committee on Communications

It's us, Parliament, who made recommendations to rationalise the staff complement there.

Mziwamadoda Kalako, ANC MP and Member Portfolio Committee on Communications

Government is responsible for this situation. It must take responsibility for what has happened.

Hannes du Buisson, President and Spokesperson of Bemawu

Listen to the in-depth discussion on The Eusebius McKaiser Show:


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