The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) on Thursday welcomed a high court ruling that the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) must relaunch a probe into alleged political interference at the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) in 2006.
“The ruling fully vindicates the view taken by Cosatu, the Freedom of Expression Institute [FXI] and others in 2006 that the SABC had been guilty of manipulating the public broadcaster for factional political ends by blacklisting political commentators,” spokesperson Patrick Craven said in a statement.
Extremely serious charges
At the time the union federation wrote to the then-SABC CEO Dali Mpofu expressing its concern over allegations the SABC had banned four political commentators — Aubrey Matshiqi, William Gumede, Karima Brown and Vukani Mde.
Cosatu also told Mpofu that then-news editor Snuki Zikalala had instructed his staff to exclude opinion pieces by the four commentators in the public broadcaster’s news and current-affairs programmes.
“Despite these extremely serious charges, the SABC only gave the man responsible a ‘verbal warning’ not to repeat his offences, implying that they did not consider political censorship as a serious matter.”
The high court in Johannesburg on Monday ruled that Icasa needs to relaunch a probe into alleged political interference at the SABC in 2006. — Sapa