SOS Coalition ‘not surprised’ by SABC findings into editorial interference

SABC Building
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The Coordinator of the SOS Coalition, a network that campaigns for democratic media and broadcasting, Duduetsang Makuse says they’re not surprised by the findings of the Commission of Inquiry into Editorial Interference at the SABC.

Releasing the report earlier on Monday, the Commission’s Chair, Joe Thloloe said the public broadcaster suffered from an impulsive and unpredictable use of authority and victimisation of staff.

The Commission also found that the newsroom took instructions from African National Congress’s leaders, particularly the former Communications Minister Faith Muthambi and former board members such as Ellen Tshabalala.

Thloloe was tasked to look into alleged political and editorial interference at the public broadcaster as well as personal favours in the workplace.

However, Makuse says they welcome the report, “I think we welcome the report. There is clearly nothing in there that is too much of a surprise because we were anticipating that the gory details of what we were suspecting were abuses of power and political interference should be made bare. So, I think on that side it’s a good report, especially also in terms of its findings and its recommendations. It’s something the SABC can work with going forward.”

Thloloe has recommended that the public broadcaster should conduct an audit of the appointment and promotions of senior news management.

The findings paint a picture of a reign of terror in the SABC newsroom between the years 2012 and 2017.

Meanwhile, the inquiry recommends that some of the decisions taken on former SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s instructions be reviewed.

Thloloe says Motsoeneng issued instructions to Human Resources to dismiss, promote or appoint employees.

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