The ministry of communications has chosen “not to meddle” in the affairs of the SABC, it said. These “internal matters” were widely reported in recent weeks and it was decided the department would not intervene.
“We deliberately decided not to pursue an interventionist stance as the ministry,” said Minister Faith Muthambi. “Our view is that these are in fact operational issues which need to be resolved by the board as the accounting authority for the corporation. She added that “this hands-off approach demonstrated the ministry’s confidence in the board”.
Muthambi added: “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 is something we have not done in the past, and that we do not wish to do in the future,” she said.
“It is also worth recalling that the process to review the SABC’s editorial policies was initiated back in the 2013/14 financial year. Further, the SABC board sign off the editorial policies, not the ministry of communications.”
Meanwhile, the Right2Know (R2K) campaign said it would protest today in Cape Town and Pretoria to demand that parliament urgently reconstitute the SABC board through an open public process, similar to the appointment of the public protector.
“We continue to call for the removal of Communications Minister Faith Muthambi and Hlaudi Motsoeneng, whose permanent appointment as the SABC COO was ruled as ‘unlawful and irrational’ by the high court last year,” said R2K.
The protest would coincide with a meeting of parliament’s portfolio committee on communications. The public broadcaster instituted a controversial policy to ban the broadcast of violent protests, before firing eight journalists for apparently speaking out against the ban. Last month, it reinstated with immediate effect seven of its journalists, Lukhanyo Calata, Busisiwe Ntuli, Thandeka Gqubule, Foeta Krige, Suna Venter, Krivani Pillay and Jacques Steenkamp, following a labour court ruling