Hlaudi is turning SA politics into a bad reality show

04 July 2014 - 02:12 By The Times Editorial
Image: Supplied

Hlaudi Motsoeneng has done it again, and he will continue to put his foot in his mouth as long as he presides as the head honcho of the public broadcaster.

Speaking at the annual Joburg Radio Days conference at Wits University, SABC acting chief operating officer Motsoeneng said the media should be more tightly regulated, even proposing that journalists should get licences. He apparently claimed that journalists only reported on corruption because black people govern the country.

This from a man who the public protector found had lied about his qualifications.

We fully agree with the opposition that Motsoeneng believes his duty is not to serve the public, but to protect the ruling party.

Motsoeneng forgets that governments come and go.

The National Party, and apartheid, disappeared - and so too, in time, will his ANC leaders.

Motsoeneng's role is to objectively inform the public. We do not need a state censor deciding what news we can or cannot hear.

It is people like him who are taking this country backwards by thinking the ANC needs protection from its own citizens.

The ANC is a big party - it can defend itself.

It is disappointing to constantly read and hear negative things about Motsoeneng.

We hope he understands that journalists will always expose wrongdoing in society, and that politicians are accountable to the citizens.

Why should we not report about corrupt individuals?

We will only remain a vibrant democracy if there is vibrant debate based on the free flow of information, and the people are not silenced or cowed.

The SABC has a mandate to inform, educate and entertain the public. It does not exist to protect the state at all costs.

If we allow the likes of Motsoeneng to prevail, how can we claim today's democracy is different from when the SABC was the National Party's lapdog?

The time has come for the SABC board to review Motsoeneng's contract.