The Support Public Broadcasting Coalition (SOS) and Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) have spoken out against Minister of Communications Nomvula Mokonyane’s statement on possible retrenchments at the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC).
“ The Minister has raised her concerns with what she believes is an odd approach by the Board of the SABC, which ignores the advice and support of the shareholder in this necessary and critical process of turning the SABC around. This is inconsistent with the principles of good corporate governance, mutual interest and public good,” Mokonyane’s statement pointed out.
SOS and MMA say in a statement that the assertion that the SABC ignored advice and support of the major shareholder on the issue is untrue. “It was the government’s own Treasury that insisted on retrenchments as a condition of the previous bailout which was not compiled with.”
The organisations have described the public broadcaster’s salary bill as untenable. “While the SABC has yet to default on paying salaries, it has certainly defaulted on paying its independent producers with dire consequences for the television industry as a whole, including doubtless, hidden retrenchments.”
SOS and MMA further refute Mokonyane’s claim that the SABC’s board insisted on retrenchments as the foremost and only solution.
“ The SABC made comprehensive public proposals on its turnaround strategy which addresses a range of issues and not just staff numbers and was discussed that the Department of Communication’s Colloquium on Public Broadcasting just last week.”
According to the organisations, Mokonyane’s statement is an attempt to interfere in the SABC’s affairs. “ The Minister’s statement appears to be a cheap electioneering ploy to shield the ruling party from the consequences of its disastrous interference in the SABC Board and management matters over the past decade. “