Communications Minister Faith Muthambi’s decision “not to meddle” in the internal affairs of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) is likely to feature in prominently in a grilling on Tuesday in front of Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Communications.
On Monday‚ she appeared to pre-empt any criticism over what the Democratic Alliance (DA) called “scandal after scandal” at the broadcaster by saying these were “operational issues which need to be resolved by the board as the accounting authority for the corporation”.
Muthambi had added that a “failure to observe this key constitutional and policy provision would‚ in fact‚ render the ministry as interfering with the duties of the board and management of the public broadcaster”.
This won’t sit well with her shadow minister at the DA‚ Phumzile van Damme‚ who said on Monday that the committee’s agenda is set to deal with “the SABC’s editorial policy”‚ which prohibited the broadcasting of footage of violent protests‚ “its financial position and other matters”.
The “other matters” will include‚ Van Damme vowed‚ questions over reports that acting SABC CEO James Aguma wants to pay [COO Hlaudi] Motsoeneng a bonus for negotiating a deal between the SABC and Multichoice‚ three years ago”.
“Not only has the SABC been rocked by scandal after scandal with Motsoeneng at the helm‚ he has overseen the financial mismanagement of the public broadcaster. The SABC is expected to make losses of over a billion for the 2015/16 financial year‚” she said.
“He must be fired.”
Van Damme had bemoaned Tuesday’s “single four-hour meeting” as “insufficient to delve into the deep-set institutional rot currently facing the SABC”‚ and said “a full-scale parliamentary inquiry is necessary”.
The SABC board and the Independent Communications Authority of SA are also expected to give briefings at Tuesday’s sitting.