SABC reporting style criticised

The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) failed to pose critical questions when reporting on the South African Communist Party’s (SACP) R500 000 missing donation saga, MPs heard on Tuesday.

Responding to questions during his interview for an SABC board member position, SACP member Sizwe Shezi told the National Assembly’s communication committee that the public broadcaster’s current reporting style left much to be desired.

“Instead of simply transmitting the story the way they did, the SABC should have posed critical questions to enable people to decide whether the story was true,” he said, adding that there were a lot of areas the SABC still needed to improve on.

Democratic Alliance member Dene Smut quizzed Shezi further on his political affiliation, wanting to know whether in the event of him being appointed, he would not try to use his powerful board member position to push the SACP agenda.

In response, Shezi cited a number of organisations he was currently involved in, including the National Aids Council and the Youth Council, as evidence that his political affiliation was not an issue.

“I see no contradiction in a member of the SACP being allowed to participate in society’s structures,” he said

The committee’s chairperson, Godfrey Oliphant, concurred with Shezi, saying there was no law prohibiting anyone from being appointed as an SABC board member on the basis of political affiliation.

When quizzed about his involvement in the Jacob Zuma RDP Education Trust, Shezi said the fund was a good cause meant to uplift the lives of the rural poor, and that he was proud to be associated with such an initiative.

He is one of the 37 candidates the committee has shortlisted for 12 SABC board positions.—Sapa

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