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  • SABC Position Paper Workshop

    This is a closed event.

    SABC Position Paper Workshop

    The “Save our SABC: Reclaiming our Public Broadcaster” Coalition, representing key trade unions, NGOs, CBOs and independent producer organisations has been working hard to address the crises at the public broadcaster, the SABC. The Coalition has focused its attentions, among a number of issues, on the Broadcasting Amendment Bill. Throughout our campaigns around the Bill the Coalition has called for the launching of a public, consultative Green / White Paper process leading to the promulgation of a new SABC Act. The Coalition aims to be as prepared as possible to participate in this and related government processes.

    The above workshop is key activity in the Coalition’s preparations. The workshop aims to analyse a number of important issues including: the SABC’s governance structures, funding, legal structure, the impact of digital migration and so forth.

    Date: 28-29 January 2009

    Venue: Sunnyside Park Hotel, Princess of Wales Terrace, Parktown, Johannesburg

    Times: 9h00-16h00 on the 28th and 09h00-15h00 on the 29th

    RSVP: Natalie Jacobs, tel: 021 683 3489, email: natalie@ct.osf.org.za by 16 January 2009

    Event start date: 
    28/01/2009
    Event end date: 
    29/01/2009
    Event venue: 
    <br />
    Event type: 
    Workshop
  • The State of Affairs at the SABC

    The SOS: Support Public Broadcasting Coalition is deeply concerned by the current state of affairs at the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC). The coalition notes with disappointed its failed attempts to meet the SABC GCEO, Lulama Mokhobo. This significant meeting (as noted by Mokhobo’s personal assistant) has been rescheduled three times. On the agenda of the meeting the coalition had hoped to discuss these issues: the local content issues on SABC television, the 24-hour news channel, SABC DTT readiness, editorial policies update, turn-around strategy, financial situation of the public broadcaster and more.

    This meeting is important to the coalition because the coalition believes that the SABC as a public broadcaster needs to be open, reliable, efficient and effective. The question then arises, how is the SABC a public broadcaster if it does not avail itself to the public for robust engagement and debate?

    This particular toss and turn response that we are getting from the office of the GCEO further alarms us  as regards  the current state of affairs at the SABC. Last week it was announced that the SABC 24-hour news channel will be launched soon. This channel will first be available on DSTV and later be offered on digital terrestrial TV when the signal comes on. The coalition is concerned that the 24-hour news channel will show on DSTV excluding millions of South Africans that cannot afford subscription television. It is also not clear what DSTV’s involvement is in this 24-hour  channel. Further, there is another deal with DSTV that the coalition would  like clarity on, which is, the selling of the rights of their most popular soapies to DSTV. Again a question arises, why sell these rights? Especially at a time SABC is losing a lot of their viewers.

    The SABC is also facing a major challenge in regard to its local content delivery on its television stations. Not all languages are represented. The only Sepedi drama on SABC right now is Bophelo Ke Semphego, this drama is over 25 years old and has been repeated countless times. This is a major challenge; the SABC is expected to produce new and exciting local drama that reflects the identities of all South Africans in the new democratic South Africa. The challenge is also that when SABC is under the gun to ensure minority language delivery, random projects are targeted for language delivery even if the language chosen bares no integral relationship to the editorial of the show. Surely there must be a sustained and robust policy of language delivery that ensures editorial integrity too?

    Accordingly the SABC is expected to review its editorial guidelines every five years. The last review was in 2004, eight years ago. The coalition is told that the review is underway, through the 'mysabc' campaign. However the coalition is worried that the review is not widely publicised and the link between the 'mysabc' campaign and the review is not clear. We urge the SABC to make this review a transparent and participatory process.

    The campaign would also like to engage the GCEO on the editorial vision for the public broadcaster, what actual programs can the CGEO imagine under her tenure? The prime business output for the SABC is public broadcast programming for the citizenry, yet there is little to no discussion, outside of the implementation of policies and procedures, on the elevated programming course she will be steering. We are also dismayed at the lack of in-depth conversation as to what may have gone wrong in programming to lose the audiences that SABC has. What editorial introspection has the SABC embarked upon? We are also dismayed to find that amongst senior management that may steer the editorial vision, very few have content as their core skill. The problem that we may face is an over prioritising of business processes and bureaucracy at the loss of an editorial soul. And we know that where audiences go will depend on who provides programming relevance, creativity and resonance.

    If media reports are correct, the SABC has continually assured South Africa that the SABC’s financial standing has dramatically improved and the turn-around strategy is eventually paying off. While the coalition commends Mokhobo and her team for bringing this stability. The coalition would like to see these developments leading to: more citizen focused programming, the review of editorial policies and willingness by the public broadcaster to openly engage citizens and civil society on these issues and more.

    Our meeting has been rescheduled to 22  August 2012; the coalition hopes that Lulama M0khobo and her team can meet us then. The coalition had arranged a press conference for tomorrow to discuss the outcomes of the meeting. Due to this postponement the press conference will also only take place on 22 August 2012. We hope Mokhobo and her team will join us.

    The SOS Coalition represents a number of trade unions including Congress of the South African Trade Unions (COSATU), COSATU affiliates Communications Workers Union (CWU), Creative Workers Union of South Africa (CWUSA), Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA), Broadcasting, Electronic, Media and Allied Workers Union (BEMAWU) and Media Workers Association of South Africa  (MWASA); independent film and TV production sector organisations including the South African Screen Federation (SASFED); and a host of NGOs and CBOs including the Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI), Media Monitoring Africa (MMA), and the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA-SA); as well as a number of academics and freedom of expression activists.

    For more information contact:

    Carol Mohlala
    Coordinator
    SOS: Support Public Broadcasting Coalition
    Mobile: 074 690 1023

    Sekoetlane Jacob Phamodi
    Campaign Organiser
    SOS: Support Public Broadcasting Coalition
    Mobile: 076 084 8077

    Statement issued by:

    Carol Mohlala
    Coordinator
    SOS: Support Public Broadcasting
    Mobile: 074 690 1023

    For more about SOS: Support Public Broadcasting Coalition, refer to www.supportpublicbroadcasting.co.za.

    To view other NGO press releases, refer to www.ngopulse.org/group/home-page/pressreleases.

    Date published: 
    14/08/2012
    Organisation: 
    SOS: Support Public Broadcasting
  • MMA calls on the BCCSA to stand its ground in the face of pressure from the SABC

    Self regulation of the media is an important aspect of our democracy. It is for this reason that institutions that promote and protect the self regulatory aspect of our media are respected and protected. Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) is concerned by the manner in which the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has chosen to react to the ruling by the Broadcasting Complains Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) in the case of the SABC and the Mail and Guardian (M&G).

    MMA respects the right of the SABC to pursue all available legal avenues to their fullest extent. However, we urge the BCCSA not to yield to the pressure and threats of the SABC. The reported threat made by the SABC to withdraw from the BCCSA is, in MMA’s view, not only churlish but also has other consequences that threaten the credibility of the SABC as well as the BCCSA.

    How did we get here?

    In November 2010 the SABC broadcast allegations by Robert Gumede (a high profile businessman) against Sam Sole (a journalist for M&G), accusing him of corruption and racism. The M&G claim to have not received a chance to respond to the allegations. Hence it lodged a complaint with the BCCSA.
     
    During this time MMA did an analysis of the news item and found that indeed the SABC was clearly biased in favouring Mr Robert Gumede. For the full analysis go to www.mediamonitoringafrica.org.

    In the first ruling, the BCCSA said claims made against Sole were unsubstantiated and the M&G was not given the chance to respond. The BCCSA ordered the SABC to broadcast a summary of the judgment during the SABC 3 7pm news bulletin on the 30th of March 2011. The SABC applied for leave to appeal the decision.  The BCCSA dismissed the application for leave to appeal.  The SABC has since argued that the refusal for leave to appeal itself constituted a gross procedural error.

    The SABC threat to our self regulation

    The SABC has since stated that it intends taking the matter on review to the Complaints and Compliance Committee (CCC) which is a committee of the Independent Communication Authority of South Africa (ICASA) set up in terms of the ICASA Act.  MMA understands that the SABC is entitled to pursue all legal avenues available to it and does not deny the SABC’s right to take the matter to the CCC.

    A matter of this kind can be taken to the CCC only if there is evidence that there was lack of jurisdiction, gross procedural irregularity, bias or a failure of natural justice. It would appear from the SABC that they are arguing in the main that because the Chairperson of the BCCSA had decided the original complaint he was not able to then refuse grounds for an appeal.  (The SABC’s application for suspension of the BCCSA ruling will be available on MMA’s website www.mediamonitoringafrica.org).

    In its response the M&G has argued that the Chairperson had applied his mind and came to reasonable conclusion and  further that they would oppose an application for the decision to be taken on review.  (The M&G’s answering affidavit will also be available on MMA’s website www.mediamonitoringafrica.org)  While the outcome is still to be decided this is an important test for the BCCSA specifically and self regulation more broadly.   

    Our plea to the BCCSA

    The M&G has reported that during the hearing on Wednesday the SABC counsel said:

    “If any broadcaster (let alone the public service mandate and the public billions) defies it [BCCSA], the whole system could collapse. The result could bring the regulation of broadcast content much more directly under the sway of ICASA councilors, who are appointed by parliament. The SABC is well aware of this and its counsel”.

    This is a significant threat, and while the SABC is perfectly entitled to withdraw from the BCCSA, it would be churlish in the extreme for it to do so, on the basis of a single ruling.  That the SABC should even make such a threat should be of grave concern to the SABC Board as well as senior SABC management. Such behaviour is reminiscent of the SABC as Apartheid bully not a transformed public service broadcaster.

    It must also be noted that the strength of self regulation relies to a significant degree on all key members subscribing to it.  Accordingly, were the SABC to leave it would be a significant blow not only to the BCCSA but self regulation in general. While significant, it would not be fatal as there is no indication that any of the other broadcasters would leave the BCCSA. In view of this threat, MMA calls on all broadcasters to reaffirm their support of the BCCSA specifically and self regulation in general.

    Were the SABC to follow through on its threat it would also have to resign from the industry body, the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB).  Not only would this weaken the SABC's ability to promote its interests with other broadcasters it would also reduce the NAB's interest in promoting public service broadcasting. The biggest losers in this case would be ordinary citizens who rely on public service broadcasting interests to be promoted so their needs as audiences can be met. A further direct consequence would be that SABC would be subject to the rulings of the CCC and the ICASA code of conduct and no longer that of the BCCSA.  In this regard there is no indication that, on the original complaint, the CCC would come to a different conclusion.
     
    More problematic however with such a threat is that the BCCSA may be tempted to withdraw or change its judgment given the SABC’s power and dominance. MMA believes that it is absolutely critical that the BCCSA does not yield to the threat; and if the SABC does not make a formal application to the CCC and continues to defy the BCCSA, the BCCSA must take the SABC to court to ensure compliance..
     
    The real test for self regulation is not when it is running smoothly, which by all accounts the BCCSA generally does, but when it is put under pressure from its members or from outside interests.  The best outcome from the current challenge is for the BCCSA to hold firm, resist threats and stick to its mandate and for due process to be followed. If the CCC upholds the BCCSA’s ruling then we call on the SABC to apologise for the threat it made and to recommit itself to the BCCSA.
     
    The way forward

    William Bird Director of MMA said, "There is far more at stake than whether the SABC will abide by the ruling of the BCCSA or not.  If the BCCSA yields to the threats and pressure not only will it demonstrate an absence of principle, it will also bring the entire BCCSA into a crisis of credibility.  A crisis I am not sure it and the National Association of Broadcasters along with it would be able to survive."

    For more information contact:

    William Bird
    Director
    Media Monitoring Africa
    Tel: +27 11 788 1278
    Cell: +27 82 887 1370
    E-mail: williamb@mma.org.za

    Carol Netshifhefhe
    Policy Unit
    Media Monitoring Africa
    Tel: +27 11 788 1278
    Cell:+27 74 690 1023
    E-mail: caroln@mma.org.za

    To view other NGO press releases, refer to www.ngopulse.org/group/home-page/pressreleases.

    Date published: 
    20/06/2011
    Organisation: 
    Media Monitoring Africa
  • SABC: Violence Exposed, Ethics Ignored

    Last night the South African Broadcasting Authority (SABC) showed news reports across its channels about police brutality which occurred during a “service delivery” protest in Ficksburg in the Free State. The manner in which it was covered by SABC’s different television services raises number of key issues.

    Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) welcomes the decision by SABC to give such prominence and attention to the death of a citizen following an incident of police brutality. Nevertheless MMA is concerned about discrepancies in how the story was reported.

    Each of SABC’s main evening news bulletins led with a report which showed violent footage of a man being beaten by police officers.  It is understood that he was also shot during this incident and died as a result of his injuries.  MMA believes that footage of extreme violence and brutality should only be shown where there is a clearly identifiable public interest and only then in limited circumstances.  This view is supported by the Broadcasters Code of Conduct, as well as SABC’s own editorial policies.

    In MMA’s view, both primetime news bulletins on SABC 2 and 3 complied with their editorial commitments “to use some form of audience advisory to give advance notice when violence is to be shown.” For this they are to be commended.  However SABC 1’s news bulletin, which was broadcast half an hour later, contained no advisory warning. MMA strongly condemns SABC 1’s failure to warn viewers in advance.

    SABC’s editorial policies make very clear it will only broadcast images of violence “if they are needed in order to portray legitimate information or context” and that it must ensure that it “is justifiable in the context of the SABC’s functions and purpose.”

    In introducing the news report SABC 3’s anchor gave context to what had happened, and made clear that it was an incident of police brutality.  MMA believes that there are legitimate and strong public interest reasons for reporting on this case and using the extremely violent footage.

    It is arguable that SABC 2 and 3 showed only enough of the violent images as was necessary to tell the story.  However, MMA is concerned that SABC 1 went too far in broadcasting the moment when the victim finally fell to the ground after being beaten and shot.  Neither of the other bulletins chose to show this particular footage.  MMA believes it was gratuitous and unnecessary for SABC 1 to do so.

    MMA is also concerned about the way in which a grieving woman was portrayed in all of the news bulletins.  SABC’s editorial policies maintain that ‘broadcasting [a person’s] displays of grief should be kept to a minimum.”  The policies explicitly give guidance on this issue saying that “a wide shot of someone being comforted is less intrusive than a lingering close-up shot of someone who is obviously distressed.”  MMA believes SABC 2 and 3 especially ignored their own advice, when they showed footage of a woman who was clearly in distress for almost six seconds.

    Finally, MMA is concerned that SABC may have left itself open to an accusation of bias.  All of the journalists reported that these were ‘service delivery protests’.  Two officials were accessed, the Mayor and the Premier. However, no where in any of the bulletins, was anyone interviewed to put forward or explain the reasons for the protests or to give their reaction to the police brutality experienced.  By this omission each of the reports, “distorted or gave wrong or improper emphasis” to one side, in this case that of the public officials.  In this way SABC again violated its own editorial policies.

    MMA is concerned that the valid public interest reasons for publicising such an overt human rights violation may have been undermined by the broadcaster’s clear inconsistencies in reporting the incident.  We call on SABC to apologise to the viewers of SABC 1 for failing to warn them about the extremely violent and disturbing footage.  We further call on the broadcaster to explain why there was such a significant ethical discrepancy in how this story was reported on SABC 1. Finally, we would also welcome assurances that they will not fail in this manner in the future in respecting their editorial policies.

    For more information, please contact:

    William Bird
    Director
    Ashoka & Linc Fellow
    Media Monitoring Africa
    Tel: 011 788 1278
    Fax: 011 788 1289
    www.mediamonitoringafrica.org
    Date published: 
    14/04/2011
    Organisation: 
    Media Monitoring Africa
  • SABC Group CEO Resigns

    The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) group CEO, Solly Mokoetle, has resigned with immediate effect.

    In a short press statement, the SABC board, points out that Mokoetle will pursue his career elsewhere, adding that, the parties have settled all other disputes between them and wish each other well for the future.

    Mokoetle says although the decision was not easy, it is in the best interests of the SABC, its staff, the nation, the board, his family and himself.

    To read article titled, “SABC, Mokoetle part ways,” click here.
    Source: 
    Mail & Guardian
  • Parliament to Fill SABC Vacancies – Kholwane

    Parliament is moving ahead to fill the four vacancies on the South African Broadcasting Corporation’s (SABC) board, with its communications committee due to meet next week to draw up a shortlist of candidates.

    Communications committee chairperson, Eric Kholwane, states that should another member resigns in the interim, the board could be left without the necessary quorum to take decisions.

    Kholwane confirmed that the communications committee will meet next week to draw up a shortlist of possibly 12 names, adding that interviews will be held from 18-20 January.

    To read the article, “Parliament to fill SABC vacancies,” click here.
    Source: 
    Independent Online
  • Minister Withdraws the Broadcasting Bill

    According to a report by Technology website, TechCentral, communications minister, Roy Padayachie, has withdrawn the controversial Public Service Broadcasting Bill which among other things, proposed a one percent tax to fund the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC).

    The website reports Padayachie as saying that he is convinced much more can yet be gained by engaging in further work before a bill is presented to cabinet.

    Padayachie maintains that in redrafting the Bill his department must consider the developmental and democratic goals of the country, adding that for these to be best served, "It is imperative that our broadcasting policy is at the cutting edge of our digital age."

    To read the article titled, “Padayachie cans Broadcasting Bill – reports,” click here.
    Source: 
    Business Day
  • SOS Coalition: SOS Welcomes Parliament’s Decision to Extend the Deadline for Nominations to the SABC Board

    The SOS Coalition welcomes Parliament’s decision to extend the deadline for nominations to 6 December 2010. This will allow Parliament to hold its hearing with the SABC Board on 23 November. The Coalition is hopeful that at this hearing Parliament will finally be able to deal with the various corporate governance breaches that have taken place at the SABC. If the various oversight and governance structures including Parliament and the SABC Board are prepared to commit to good corporate governance  and implementing mechanisms of accountability going forward, this will significantly assist in encouraging experienced people with integrity and commitment to stand for the SABC Board.

    There is one further important issue that needs to be considered - we need to carefully look at the gaps in terms of representivity that have been created by the present resignations. As the Broadcasting Act presently states the members of the Board when viewed collectively need to “represent a broad cross-section of the population of the Republic” and need to collectively have a range of skills in broadcasting policy and technology, broadcasting regulation, media law and so forth. As civil society we need to analyse what the gaps are and nominate accordingly. It is also most important that the Portfolio Committee does an analysis of this situation so that the appointment process takes this into consideration.

    For more information:

    Kate Skinner
    SOS Coordinator
    082 926 6404

    Patrick Craven
    Spokesperson
    Cosatu
    082 821 7456

    Matankana Mothapo
    Spokesperson
    Communications Workers Union
    082 759 0900

    Oupa Lebogo
    General Secretary
    Creative Workers Union
    084 511 8763

    William Bird
    Director
    Media Monitoring Africa
    082 887 1370

    Faiza Smith
    Director
    Misa-SA
    076 995 9513

    Hannes du Buisson
    General Secretary
    Bemawu
    082 920 8669     

    Kgomotso Matsunyane and Feizel Mamdoo
    Co-Chairs
    South African Screen Federation
    082 901 2000
    Date published: 
    18/11/2010
    Organisation: 
    SOS Coalition
  • SOS Coalition: SOS Urges Parliament to Extend the Deadline for Nominations for the SABC Board to Ensure that the Board Chair and Other Issues are Resolved

    SOS Coalition members have been debating the issue of putting forward nominations for the SABC Board. Four members of the Board have resigned. SOS has expressed concern about putting forward new members because the Coalition believes that the current conditions on the Board are not conducive to members playing their critical oversight roles.  However, SOS believes that this is an important moment for the communications sector. We have a new Minister, Deputy Minister and new Acting Chair of the Portfolio Committee on Communications in place.

    We believe that with this new leadership in office the possibility of resolving the various crises affecting the SABC is strong.  However, in order to ensure that the Minister, Deputy Minister and Acting Chair have time to take action, we urge the Portfolio Committee to extend the nomination deadline to allow time for the necessary changes to be effected. Presently the deadline for nominations is 15 November 2010.

    SOS believes that we need substantive progress on the following issues:
    • The Chair of the Board – SOS believes that the Chair of the Board, Dr. Ben Ngubane should either resign or be removed by the Appointing Body (including Parliament and the President). Dr. Ngubane has been involved in a series of serious corporate governance breaches at the SABC.
    • In terms of the corporate governance breaches, SOS believes that Parliament should deal decisively with the following:
    • The unilateral appointment of the Head of News,
    • the Board’s decision (although later reversed) to appoint an Acting CEO from outside the Corporation in direct violation of the SABC Board’s Articles of Association,
    • the Chair's refusal to sign the delegation of authority document in terms of the appointment of the Acting CEO, and
    • the Chair’s unilateral decision to announce on SABC TV and Radio that there had been problems with the appointment of an Acting CEO and that he was hoping to reinstate suspended CEO, Solly Mokoetle.
    • Also in terms of the corporate governance breaches, SOS believes that the remaining board members (including the executive members of the Board that are part of SABC management) should publically commit themselves to scrupulous adherence to good corporate governance practices and protocols going forward.
    • Finally, SOS believes that gaps in the Broadcasting Act, 1999 should be swiftly dealt with. Parliament needs to make a commitment to amending the Broadcasting Act, 1999 to state clearly that the Minister has no role to play in the appointment of the executive members of the Board. The appointment of the executive members is solely the responsibility of the Board. SOS pointed out on numerous occasions during the Broadcasting Amendment Bill process in 2008, the fact that the Broadcasting Act is problematically silent about the appointment of executive management. To date Parliament has not resolved this issue creating continuing crises around these appointments.
    Further, these gaps in the legislation encourage inappropriate Ministerial interference in the direct management and editorial control of the SABC. People must remember that the CEO of the SABC is also the SABC’s editor-in-chief. SOS believes that we need substantive progress in terms of the above in order to be able to convince people with integrity to stand for the SABC Board. A further issue we need to consider Is the overall composition of the Board in terms of the issues of skills, experience and representativity. So for instance it is important to analyse the skills that we have lost through the four resignations and thus the skills that we need.  Going forward we need to ensure that the SABC Board has the right combination of people to steer the SABC ship to calmer waters.

    We believe that an unstable SABC is a threat to democracy and socio economic development. It denies the large majority of our population the ability to receive information and to have a voice.

    For more information:

    Kate Skinner
    SOS Coordinator
    082 926 6404

    Patrick Craven
    Spokesperson
    Cosatu
    082 821 7456

    Matankana Mothapo
    Spokesperson
    Communications Workers Union
    082 7590900

    Oupa Lebogo
    General Secretary
    Creative Workers Union
    084 511 8763

    William Bird
    Director
    Media Monitoring Africa
    082 887 1370

    Faiza Abrahams Smith
    Director
    Misa-SA
    076 995 9513

    Hannes du Buisson
    General Secretary
    Bemawu
    082 920 8669

    Kgomotso Matsunyane and Feizel Mamdoo
    Co-Chairs
    South African Screen Federation
    082 901 2000

    Date published: 
    05/11/2010
    Organisation: 
    SOS Coalition
  • SOS welcomes the Board’s Decision to suspend the SABC’s GCEO, Solly Mokoetle

    The “SOS: Support Public Broadcasting” Campaign representing a number of trade unions including COSATU, COSATU affiliates CWU and CWUSA, FEDUSA and BEMAWU; independent film and TV production sector organisations including the South African Screen Federation (SASFED); and a host of NGOs and CBOs including the Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI), Media Monitoring Africa (MMA), the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA-SA) and the National Community Radio Forum (NCRF); as well as a number of academics and freedom of expression activists welcome the SABC Board’s decision to suspend the SABC’s CEO, Solly Mokoetle.

    Mr. Mokoetle has strongly backed and supported the Chair of the SABC, Dr Ben Ngubane’s serious breaches of corporate governance at the broadcaster. He has implemented the Chair’s illegal unilateral appointment of the Head of News thus throwing the SABC into a serious, an entirely unnecessary, corporate governance crisis.

    Further, it is alleged that Mr Mokoetle has operated unilaterally (with only the authority of the Chair) and without accounting to the rest of the Board on a number of important occasions. For instance, in a leaked memo from Board members to the Minister of Communications on 8 June 2010 it appears that Mr. Mokoetle attended a conference in China on behalf of the Chair of the Board, days before the opening of the World Cup, on an issue not vital to the SABC’s core mandate, and without appointing anyone to act in his absence.

    Further to these specific allegations it appears that Mr Mokoetle has failed overall to deliver on his detailed performance targets clearly laid out in his performance contract with the SABC Board. To date the SABC still does not have a “turn around” strategy in place. Further, he does not appear to have implemented any cost cutting measures at the cash-strapped broadcaster – in fact it appears that there was significant fruitless and wasteful expenditure at the SABC over the period of the FIFA World Cup. This is in terms of the purchase of World Cup tickets, without ensuring direct benefits to the SABC, and the hiring of the Sandton Convention Centre, at excessively high rates, as a broadcast venue.

    If these various allegations are in fact proved to be correct then we believe Mr Mokoetle should be fired for both actively supporting and implementing illegal decisions taken by the Chair and further for not fulfilling the clear targets of his performance contract.

    The swift conclusion of Parliamentary processes

    Further to this action around the CEO we believe that Parliament needs to conclude its hearings into the SABC governance crises in an open session. SOS supports the calls by IDASA, SANEF, MISA-SA and others to ensure that Parliamentary sessions are held in the open to ensure maximum public accountability and transparency. We therefore do not believe that Parliament should wait to hear the conclusion of the court case that forced them to adjourn their closed session. The Parliamentary hearing should be held in the open as soon as possible.

    The Coalition notes that to date only one side of the story has been tabled and reported on – the evidence of the Chair Dr. Ben Ngubane.  We urgently need to hear the evidence from the rest of the Board.

    SOS believes that Parliament must then investigate this evidence before them and take appropriate and swift action against those guilty of violating good corporate governance practices, processes and protocols at the SABC. If it is found that the Chair of the Board, Dr Ben Ngubane has in fact violated good corporate governance practices at the SABC, which it certainly appears he has, then he should be removed as Chair of the Board.

    For more information please contact:

    Kate Skinner, Coordinator, SOS: Support Public Broadcasting, 082 926 6404
    Rehad Desai, Executive Member, South African Screen Federation, 083 997 9204
    William Bird, Director, Media Monitoring Africa, 082 887 1370
    Date published: 
    27/08/2010
    Organisation: 
    SOS: Support Public Broadcasting” Campaign
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