/ 19 July 2016

ANC calls DA march to Parliament in support of #SABC8 an “electioneering gimmick”

Some employees were charged with leaking a letter they had written to chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng about their unhappiness with the editorial policies at the broadcaster.
?The SABC 8 is a group of journalists who were suspended in 2016 for speaking out about censorship at the public broadcaster. (Oupa Nkosi/M&G)

The African National Congress (ANC) on Tuesday, dismissed the march in Cape Town by the party’s main opposition as an electioneering gimmick.

This comes as around 200 Democratic Alliance (DA) supporters protested outside Parliament in support of eight journalists who were given marching orders by the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC).

DA national spokesperson Phumzile Van Damme led the picket the to deliver a list of demands to ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu over the recent happenings at the SABC.

Van Damme said Mthembu had failed in his duty to act as a function of oversight by turning down the DA’s request for a special meeting of the communications committee to discuss the crisis.

In a statement, ANC spokesperson in Parliament, Moloto Mothapo said the DA’s march against the ANC in Parliament was a publicity stunt that had nothing to do with the serious issues pertaining to the public broadcaster.

Mothapo said this was just a desperate gimmick to boost the DA’s “weak and diminishing” election campaign.

“It’s unheard of that a Parliamentary party would march against another Parliamentary party in protest at the very programme it designed and agreed to as part of the National Assembly Programming Committee,” Mothapo said.

Mothapo said the office of the ANC chief whip had taken the issues relating to the SABC seriously.

“The current programme is a product of unanimous agreement by all parties in Parliament, and it would be a gross violation of both the rules and the spirit of the multiparty agreement for the chief whip to alter it to suit the whims of one party,” Mothapo said.

Mothapo said he believed that Parliament would deal with the issues relating to the SABC comprehensively when it resumes its business after the elections.

“We strongly condemn the DA’s attempt to trivialise and make a mockery of the situation at the SABC through silly gimmicks,” Mothapo said.

The outspoken journalists — Busisiwe Ntuli, Foeta Krige, Suna Venter, Krivani Pillay, Jacques Steenkamp, Thandeka Gqubule and Lukhanyo Calata — were fired for speaking out against the policy guidelines laid down by contested chief operations officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

Vuyo Mvoko had his freelance contract with the corporation terminated on Tuesday. – African News Agency (ANA)