One characteristic of the ANC elite, when they get elevated to serious positions of power, such as ministers, is that they tend to think and behave as if that particular portfolio is their personal fiefdom.
That means, in basic terms, any resources within that area are theirs and any government employees can be treated as little more than feudal serfs.
Perhaps because of its powerful position in society, the national broadcaster has been seen as a playground for its political bosses.
Hlaudi Motsoeneng, the unqualified but politically connected charlatan who almost ran the SABC into the ground, was adept at both ways of exerting his feudal power.
Now, it seems, the new communications minister, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, believes all those who work for the public broadcaster are there to do exactly what she says.
Hence, she tried to block a TV crew from the SABC from covering the launch of the ANC’s election manifesto in the Eastern Cape over the weekend.
When the crew began recording protesters disrupting proceedings, Ndabeni-Abrahams put her hand in front the SABC camera lens and ordered the journalists not to cover the disruption.
When she later realised that this, quite correctly, would be interpreted as heavy-handed government censorship, Ndabeni-Abrahams ducked and dived in her apology, insisting there was an “altercation”.
There was no such thing, Minister. It was a ruling party apparatchik applying the Stalinist tactics so much favoured by many of her comrades.
Ndabeni-Abrahams’ interference is nothing new: soon after she was appointed, she caused resignations from the SABC board because she wanted to do what she wanted.
This attitude flies in the face of the new transparency apparently being promoted by President Cyril Ramaphosa and others in the ANC.
Ndabeni-Abrahams should be fired if the ANC is in any way serious about true democracy and freedom.