Committee agrees to SABC inquiry

Parliament’s communications committee has done an about-turn on the SABC, agreeing in principle to a request for a parliamentary inquiry into what is happening at the troubled public broadcaster.

The SABC board and Department of Communications officials are expected to appear before the committee on Tuesday.

They will probably have to account for a myriad mishaps, from wrongfully censoring violent service-delivery protest coverage to having a chief operating officer, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, without the required academic qualifications.

DA MP Phumzile van Damme welcomed the move, but said a single meeting would not be enough time to deal with the SABC’s issues.

Among the issues on the agenda are a presentation by Communications Minister Faith Muthambi on the SABC’s editorial policy.

The committee will also discuss the SABC’s legal battles and the implementation of an Icasa compliance committee ruling which ordered that the SABC withdraw its decision not to broadcast footage of violent protest action.

Several SABC journalists were suspended recently after speaking out against issues within the SABC.

All but one of those, contracted journalist Vuyo Mvoko, have since returned to work after the labour court ruled in their favour.

“We need a thorough inquiry which takes place over a week or even two so that we can deal with those issues,” Van Damme said.

ANC MP Mziwamadoba Kalako said the SABC needed special attention.

“I don’t think it’s a matter we can do in a day,” Kalako said.

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