The Democratic Alliance has backed an African National Congress call for a “parliamentary inquiry into the fitness of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) board to hold office”.
The opposition party did‚ however‚ express reservations about it being a “public relations stunt to save the ANC from another embarrassment in the eyes of the people of South Africa”.
“The announcement by the ANC chief whip‚ Jackson Mthembu‚ must be put into action‚” said the DA’s Phumzile Van Damme.
Mthembu had on Wednesday lambasted the SABC board’s decision to reappoint Hlaudi Motsoeneng and called for a parliamentary inquiry into its conduct.
He said he was “gravely concerned” about the situation at the public broadcaster as the “shenanigans” were cause for embarrassment‚ and stressed that whatever protection Motsoeneng enjoys at the SABC is not coming from the ANC.
Van Damme said the inquiry was “much-needed”‚ but appeared to have a swipe at the ruling party‚ saying “the DA has repeatedly called for a parliamentary inquiry to be conducted into the SABC‚ including the board’s fitness to hold office”.
Last month‚ Van Damme called for a similar inquiry‚ and while the portfolio committee on communication originally seemed to agree‚ they later backtracked and said that they would rather call the board to appear before them first.
This week‚ the committee said the board is due to appear before it next Wednesday‚ but Mthembu said given the board’s latest “mess ups” this was no longer sufficient.
“The inquiry is vital for the survival of the SABC and the restoration of trust between the public broadcaster and the people of South Africa‚” said Van Damme.
“It has become patently clear that the board of the SABC only serves to further the interests of the ANC‚ Communications Minister Faith Muthambi and Hlaudi Motsoeneng‚ and is not dedicated – as required by the Broadcasting Act – to fairness‚ freedom of expression‚ the right of the public to be informed‚ and openness and accountability.”
Should the inquiry find wrongdoing‚ the committee can recommend that the board be dissolved. This recommendation would be made to the appointing authority – which in the case of SABC board members‚ is President Jacob Zuma.