‘SABC will not be indebted to any political entity’

‘SABC will not be indebted to any political entity’

Civil rights organisations have welcomed a decision of the High Court in Pretoria to dismiss an appeal for government to have a say over appointments at the South African Broadcasting Cooperation (SABC).

SABC building
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It believes the judgment will free the SABC from ministerial interference in the appointment of members to its board and the filling of vacancies.

It was affirmed by Justice Keoagile Matojane following an appeal by Communications Minister Nomvula Mokonyane in which she questioned an earlier judgment that the minister should not have any influence in the appointments at the broadcaster.

It was handed down on Tuesday morning.

The SOS Coalition‚ Media Monitoring Africa and Freedom of Expression Institute have all welcomed the ruling.

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Mokonyane wanted to control the appointments of the GCEO, COO and CFO, among others, which she believes is in the interest of public. The defendants argued it to be in contravention of the right to freedom of expression and undermines the independence of the public broadcaster.

“It is a positive step for entrenching independence of our public broadcaster and our democracy,” says SOS Coalition coordinator, Duduetsang Makuse.

Although Makuse lauds the judgement as “a milestone", she says all eyes will still be on the SABC heading into the 2019 elections.

 “We are going to have to keep a very close eye on the SABC just purely because of its centrality in the whole process, and the ways it has to engage with the IEC, public and political parties … we as the public will need to keep our eye on the ball that things don’t sway back from where we come from. The last thing we need is a SABC that its beholden to one political entity at the expense of others.”

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