/ 9 September 2007

Vavi: SABC shows signs of becoming state broadcaster

Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) secretary general Zwelenzima

Vavi on Saturday warned that the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) was ”showing clear signs” of becoming a broadcaster of the state.

In a speech to the Creative Workers’ Union of South Africa (CWUSA) on Saturday, Vavi said: ”The SABC is showing clear signs of returning to its previous role as a broadcaster for the state not the public.

”Increasingly our government and the SABC talk about controlling and limiting what the public broadcaster can or should convey to our people.”

In his speech, Vavi warned that ”working class culture” faced two threats.

”The first threat is the unwillingness of the state to accept criticism and support independent culture.”

The second threat to creative workers was the control by big business of creative industries, such as the music industry.

He pointed out that five companies controlled 92% of the South African music market.

Referring to the popular Umshini Wami — the trademark song of African National Congress deputy president Jacob Zuma — Vavi said :”When we sing Umshini Wami we express our memories of our past struggles. It gives those of us who still have a reason to struggle an inspiration to soldier on.”

The CWUSA congress ends on Sunday. – Sapa