JOHANNESBURG, October 1 – The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) will “not entertain any influence and/or interference which stand to threaten its independence”, the public broadcaster said on Sunday.
“The SABC has noted media reports alleging that the Democratic Alliance (DA) has written a letter to the SABC board chairperson Bongumusa Makhathini requesting that the Zondo Judicial Commission of Inquiry into State Capture proceedings be aired live on the SABC’s terrestrial platforms in addition to the current live broadcast on SABC news carried on the DStv channel 404,” spokeswoman Neo Momodu said in a statement.
The state capture inquiry was receiving extensive coverage across all bulletins, radio stations, and television channels under the direction of the SABC’s editorial staff, she said.
The SABC programming decisions were governed by the SABC charter which enshrined the journalistic, creative, and programming independence of its editorial staff. The charter was constitutionally protected by section 16 of the Bill of Rights in the Constitution.
“The SABC will therefore continue to subscribe to its core editorial values of equality, editorial independence, nation building, diversity, human dignity, accountability, and transparency, and will not entertain any influence and/or interference which stand to threaten its independence,” Momodu said.
Earlier on Sunday, DA spokeswoman Natasha Mazzone said the party had asked Makhathini to request that the SABC flight the Zondo Commission on its terrestrial platforms, including television and radio.
“The majority of South Africans are currently only getting mediated coverage of this crucial commission, and only those with access to satellite television and internet connections that allow for streaming are able to watch the commission’s live feed on a continuous basis. This leaves most people relying on news agencies to keep them updated on developments throughout the day,” she said.
The Zondo Commission was of profound national importance and the SABC, as the public broadcaster, had a duty to dedicate at least one of its terrestrial TV channels and one of its radio stations to broadcasting developments, Mazzone said. (ANA)