Minister moves to ‘re-capture’ SABC, says DA

Phumzile van Damme

The new Minister of Communications, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, is wasting no time in re-capturing the SABC and confirming the suspicion that she has moved to the portfolio by President Jacob Zuma for this very purpose. This is the view of the DA’s communications spokesperson 

In Parliament’s meeting of the Communications Committee, with support of ANC Members of the Committee, the Minister revealed that she would appeal a High Court judgment which limits the powers of the Minister of Communications and asserts the SABC’s independence.

The judgment in S.O.S. Support Public Broadcasting Coalition and Others v South African Broadcasting Corporation handed down on 17 October 2017, aims to prevent the Minster from abusing her power, and also:

  • Asserts that the SABC must be free from executive control and influence
  • Confirms the Broadcasting Act as the legislation governing SABC matters
  • Asserts that the SABC board does not report to the Minister of Communications, but Parliament
  • The appointment of non-executive directors must be open and transparent

The Minister taking this judgment on appeal is a clear indication of her dubious agenda.

This High Court judgment finally puts power back in the hands of the SABC board – and the Minister, as she had publicly stated her intent not to interfere in the board’s affairs, should have welcomed this move.

At the Committee meeting, the Minister expressed that, according to her, the judge did not give reasons for this judgment and that it was in contradiction with Labour Legislation. Frankly, if Minister Kubayi-Ngubane was uncertain about the judgment she could have asked for a declaratory order from the court.

This judgment provides a clear separation of power, and stands in the Minister’s way in aiding the President in his dubious plans. It is quite clear why Minister Kubayi-Ngubane was reshuffled to the Department of Communications – the President seemingly plans on re-capturing the SABC.

The DA will not allow yet another Communications Minister to loot the Public Broadcaster and we will defend the independence of the SABC against any attempts to have it re-captured. The battle is on.

Phumzile van Damme is a Democratic Alliance MP and spokesman for communications. Please find attached a soundbite by the DA Shadow Minister of Communications, Phumzile Van Damme MP. 

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