Muthambi faces grilling from ANC

10 July 2016 - 02:01 By THABO MOKONE and THANDUXOLO JIKA


Communications Minister Faith Muthambi will be ordered to take action against the crisis-ridden SABC board when she meets with party grandees at Luthuli House tomorrow. ANC communications subcommittee chairman Jackson Mthembu revealed this to the Sunday Times this week.The board has been largely supportive of chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng's censorship regime.The party's communications subcommittee is also expected to instruct Muthambi to act against Motsoeneng for spearheading a ban on violent protests.Seven SABC employees opposed to the ban are facing disciplinary action.story_article_left1An angry Mthembu said the ANC had never instructed Motsoeneng, or anyone at the SABC, to implement the ban."We don't need a spokesperson in the SABC - whether in the name of Hlaudi or anybody and, by the way, Hlaudi does not speak on behalf of the ANC," he said."We also do not appreciate name-dropping that has happened [at] the SABC, where it would be said the ANC wants this to be done without even hearing it from the ANC, but from other people who might have their own agendas."If we want our own channel, as the ANC, we will create it," said Mthembu.The SABC crisis has blown the lid offdeepening divisions in the party, with officials split into pro- and anti-Motsoeneng camps.Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association chairman Kebby Maphatsoe and North West ANC provincial chairman Supra Mahumapelo have come to Motsoeneng's defence.However, Mthembu is adamant that there is no party policy that supports Motsoeneng's decisions at the SABC."Anybody who differs with the national executive committee subcommittee must tell us on [the basis] of which resolution are they differing."We can't love people - anybody in this world - to the detriment of ANC policies and resolutions. The resolutions of the ANC are sacrosanct, and they cannot be put aside to suit any individual or institution," said Mthembu.The committee was disappointed that the SABC board, through chairman Mbulaheni Maguvhe, had shown the ANC "the middle finger" and it was clear they were headed for a collision course, said Mthembu.He was responding to Maguvhe's comment this week that the SABC chairman "took exception" to Mthembu's assertion that the public broadcaster was led by unqualified and incompetent managers.full_story_image_hleft1Maguvhe refused to comment further this week.Mthembu said his committee was willing to take this matter to the ANC's top six national leaders as well as its national working committee."Some of the issues we need to escalate include a board that shows scant regard to a governing party. That's why I am surprised by the chair of the board. I don't know whether he understands what he said."It's very unfortunate," said Mthembu."The mere fact that they have decided to dice us in the public domain is unfortunate, but also shows disrespect for the party that got over 62% of votes.story_article_right2"Also, people forget how they came to be on that board. If the ANC majority in parliament didn't agree [on their names], they would not be in that board."We thought these board members would carry forward the public broadcasting mandate. We didn't think that they would turn around and show the ANC the middle finger - and this is what they have done now, through the chair."Mthembu said Muthambi would also be ordered to withdraw the Broadcasting Amendment Bill, which usurps the National Assembly's power to appoint SABC board members and vests that authority in the communications minister's office.It also seeks to reduce board members from 12 to nine."We don't support [the bill] because, first of all, there has not been a frank discussion in the ANC," said Mthembu.mokonet@sundaytimes.co.za and jikat@sundaytimes.co.za

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