South Africa’s Communications Minister Faith Muthambi wants the state to have total control of the SABC and has introduced legislation that would give her the final say on who is appointed to the broadcaster’s board, which has been backed by cabinet, according to the Sunday Times.
The Broadcasting Amendment Bill, which was tabled on Friday would in effect enable Muthambi to turn the SABC into a state broadcaster, usurping the power of parliament to have a say who sits on the board.
The Sunday Times said the new bill would also allow for a ‘nomination committee’ to be set up by Muthambi to recommend candidates to sit on the board of the SABC.
It also proposes that the number of non-executive board members to nine from 12.
The Sunday Times report states that Muthambi is already unpopular within the ANC, with some leaders becoming increasingly impatient with her behaviour and her apparent disregard for the party’s sub-committee on communication.
Party sources told the Sunday Times that Muthambi would meet ANC opposition on the bill.
The Save Our SABC, SOS, coalition has threatened to go as far as the Constitutional Court to challenge the proposed bill.
“The SABC will shift from a public broadcaster to a state broadcaster if this bill is passed…and it is quite possible it will be passed as is,” said SOS co-ordinator Sekoetlane Phamodi.
The Sunday Times said the bill has already been approved by cabinet, with Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe announcing the submission of the bill to parliament in what he said was an effort to “implement a stable corporate governance model that ensures long-term stability and sustainability of the SABC.”
The full report is available in this week’s Sunday Times.