We want a stable SABC — ANC

The ANC has called on the government to restore stability to the SABC, which suffered another blow this week after four of its board members resigned.

In a statement released on Friday, the ANC said: “We are concerned by the continuing instability at the public broadcaster and call on the government to ensure that everything is done to return the SABC to normalcy and its stability is sustained.”

The Presidency confirmed on Thursday that Krish Naidoo, Khanyisile Kweyama, John Mattison and Mathatha Tsedu had all tendered their resignations.

As it currently stands, the board is no longer quorate but will have a 30-day grace period to continue making decisions.

READ MORE: Four SABC board members resign

The ANC further noted reports that suggest the party has encouraged some of these board members to resign.

“Insinuations that the ANC is involved in attempts to sabotage the SABC board to achieve political ends is at best a desperate act of scoring cheap political points. We reject these suggestions with the contempt they deserve,” the statement reads, adding that the ruling party has been at the forefront of efforts to stabilise the SABC.

According to a Mail & Guardian report Luthuli House has been holding meetings with some of the labour leaders at the SABC, in an effort to avoid the possibility of retrenchments at the ailing public broadcaster.

READ MORE: SABC meltdown all too familiar

In October, the SABC announced that its financial position means that it has no choice but to retrench 981 permanent workers and 1 200 freelancers.

The ANC’s intervention in the retrenchments has been met with suspicion, with Democratic Alliance (DA) MP Phumzile van Damme positing that the ruling party wants control over the SABC.

“The DA is not blind to the politics at play. The SABC board has been adamant about enforcing its independence and this is not a situation Luthuli House would be happy with going into an election,” Van Damme said.

“It has in the past had the SABC under its control and made sure that the public broadcaster was its mouthpiece and portrayed the ANC in a positive light to the electorate. The dissolving of the current board would allow for Parliament to appoint an interim board which could quite likely be filled with ANC-friendly individuals who would be at Luthuli House’s beck and call.”

READ MORE: SABC’s crisis plan fails to impress MPs

But the ANC’s statement lambasts the politicisation of the leadership crisis at the SABC.

“We call on everyone concerned to desist from alarmist tendencies and politicising these resignations and allow space for the Presidency and Parliament to deal with the matter in the best interest of the country,” the statement reads.

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Sarah Smit
Sarah Smit
Sarah Smit is a general news reporter at the Mail & Guardian. She covers topics relating to labour, corruption and the law.
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