DA slams Tito Mboweni for 'not knowing SABC mandate'

The DA's Phumzile van Damme said Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams and Tito Mboweni were both clueless about the SABC.
The DA's Phumzile van Damme said Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams and Tito Mboweni were both clueless about the SABC.
Image: Gallo Images / Beeld / Jaco Marais

The DA's Phumzile van Damme has accused finance minister Tito Mboweni of not understanding the mandate of the SABC.

Van Damme - the party's shadow minister of communications and digital technologies - made the comment after the official opposition claimed to have seen a letter Mboweni wrote to minister of communications and digital technologies, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, refusing to give the public broadcaster a R3.2bn government guarantee.

In the letter, claims the DA, Mboweni's letter says the "SABC is ultimately only an implementing agent for the Department of Communications" - which Van Damme said is not the case.

"The SABC is not an implementing agent for the Department of Communications, as stated by Mboweni. It is flabbergasting that he does not know this," she said in a statement.

"We call on minister Mboweni to properly appraise himself on the role and mandate of the SABC, and once having done so, continue negotiations regarding funding for the SABC with this knowledge in mind."

TimesLIVE reported on Sunday that Mboweni has declined to give the cash-strapped SABC a much-needed government guarantee in order for the public broadcaster to stay on air.

This came barely a week after Ndabeni-Abrahams told parliament she was prepared to quit her job rather than give the SABC a loan guarantee while it did not have a solid turnaround strategy.

Van Damme said Ndabeni-Abrahams and Mboweni were both clueless about the SABC.

Said Van Damme: "Minister Ndabeni-Abrahams made it patently clear that she also has no understanding of her role over the public broadcaster in Parliament last week."

Van Damme added that Ndabeni-Abrahams' "personal feelings about the SABC" were problematic, as was "her reported bad-mouthing of the SABC [which] would no doubt also have happened at National Treasury".

According to Van Damme, Ndabeni-Abrahams had deliberately withheld the letter from Mboweni when she appeared before the portfolio committee last week. 

She alleged that Ndabeni-Abrahams, during her appearance, "made no mention of the letter, which contained crucial information that not only the public, but Parliament, the body to which she is accountable to, ought to have been appraised of".

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