SABC under a veil of secrecy as South Africans are denied transparency

Issued by Natasha Mazzone MP – DA Shadow Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies
11 Oct 2023 in News

Note to editors: Please find the attached soundbite by Natasha Mazzone MP

Yesterday, I urgently wrote to the Chairperson of Committees, Cedric Frolick, and the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Communications and Digital Technologies, Boyce Maneli, requesting that the closed portion of this afternoon’s Committee Meeting, where the SABC’s future financial plans will be discussed, be made public. Members of the Press also wrote to Honourable Frolick, who denied their request. The portion of the Committee Meeting remains closed from the public.

The SABC is a Constitutional hallmark meant to display our momentous transition to constitutional democracy. Yet sadly, our Public Broadcaster has become an avenue for maladministration and political interference. We all know what the ANC, Jacob Zuma and Hlaudi Motsoeneng sought to do with the SABC in corrupting our Public Broadcaster. Their tragic abuses of power sought to return the SABC to a State platform, as opposed to its mandate to South Africans.

As Parliamentarians, it is our fervent duty, on behalf of South Africans, to hold institutions to account, especially institutions meant to promote our democracy. Whenever the SABC has been allowed to evade accountability and transparency, it has led to harmful outcomes for South Africans, and history must never repeat itself.

As the Constitution and Committee rules state, the public may not be excluded from Committee sittings “unless it is reasonable and justified to do so in an open and democratic society”. There has been no valid justification. South Africans have every right to know the financial plans of their Public Broadcaster, and this veil of secrecy is deeply concerning.

As Shadow Minister of Communications & Digital Technologies, I will continue to ensure accountability and transparency from the SABC, especially in the lead up to our Election next year, where access to robust information will be imperative.

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