Editorials 24.8.2016 07:39 am

Time to restore order at SABC

AUCKLAND PARK, SOUTH AFRICA- August 22:  Controversial SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng addresses the media about the "Generations crisis" on August 22, 2014 in Auckland Park, South Africa. Hlaudi was joined by Generations creator, Mfundi Vundla, producer, Friedrich Stark, Tiaan Olivier and SABC spokeman, Kaizer Kganyago to set the record straight about the soapie’s crisis. The fired actors who demanded R30 000 a week earned R55 000 a month and enjoyed pampered lifestyles, including personal dressing rooms, three meals a day and hair and make-up treats daily. (Photo by Gallo Images/  Sunday Times / James Oatway)

AUCKLAND PARK, SOUTH AFRICA- August 22: Controversial SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng addresses the media about the "Generations crisis" on August 22, 2014 in Auckland Park, South Africa. Hlaudi was joined by Generations creator, Mfundi Vundla, producer, Friedrich Stark, Tiaan Olivier and SABC spokeman, Kaizer Kganyago to set the record straight about the soapie’s crisis. The fired actors who demanded R30 000 a week earned R55 000 a month and enjoyed pampered lifestyles, including personal dressing rooms, three meals a day and hair and make-up treats daily. (Photo by Gallo Images/ Sunday Times / James Oatway)

It is high time for both the minister and the SABC to realise their duty to the country or admit the lunatics have taken over the asylum.

It is becoming increasingly obvious that, far from filling its regulated mandate of being the public broadcaster, the SABC has built a moat of near invincibility around itself.

More than the now familiar pictures of a red-eyed arrogant stare from chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng and the court cases and patently faux internal hearings his intransigence have engendered, plus the indifferent assumption of Minister of Communications Faith Muthambi that the portfolio she holds would not meddle with the internal affairs of the SABC, is a stance that bears no perceivable logic or substance.

And her insistence that, despite a veritable barrage of criticism, “we deliberately decided not to pursue an interventionary stance as the ministry” could, and perhaps should, be construed as a dereliction of duty.

Neither does the assertion by the minister that “the SABC board sign off the editorial policies, not the ministry of communications” inspire any real confidence that there are any checks or balances in place.

Certainly, calls from watchdog organisations such as the Right2Know to bring some semblance of order back into the broadcast of information have been tuned out at the corporation’s Auckland Park headquarters, and similar calls for the immediate removal of Motsoeneng and the SABC board have fallen on deaf ears.

This is patently not going to happen. The growing, and it must be added, long-held belief that the public broadcaster is anything but a vehicle for the enlightenment of this country’s citizens and merely a mouthpiece for the ruling party, gains even more credibility as each platitude follows the next and revelations of the board’s apparent indifference to its audience – and, it must be added, its editorial staff – begin to surface.

It is high time for both the minister and the SABC to realise their duty to the country or admit the lunatics have taken over the asylum.

 

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