JOHANNESBURG, December 7 – The ruling African National Congress party said on Friday it was concerned about the continuing instability at public broadcaster SABC and urged the government to ensure everything was done to restore normalcy.
News channel eNCA reported on Thursday that veteran journalist and editor Mathatha Tsedu had become the fourth member to step down from the South African Broadcasting Corporation’s board of directors.
His move follows those by SABC deputy chairwoman Khanyisile Kweyama and board members Krish Naidoo and John Matison. Naidoo confirmed on Wednesday that he had resigned due to political interference at the cash-strapped public broadcaster.
On Friday the ANC rejected suggestions that the party had encouraged some board members to resign, saying in a statement: “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.”
The technically insolvent public broadcaster is facing resistance to plans to retrench at least 2,000 staffers to cut escalating costs and stay afloat. Following periods of wasteful expenditure and ineffective boards, it owes service providers hundreds of millions of rand.
Last month, CEO Madoda Mxakwe said the SABC could not fulfil its financial obligations and had no other alternative but to cut jobs.
On Friday the ANC said it had been at the forefront of efforts to stabilise the SABC.
“We are under no illusion about the important role the public broadcaster plays in the life of the nation and the importance of ensuring and sustaining a stable environment. The Board must be given the space to execute its mandate independently and without fear, favour or prejudice in the best interest of the SABC,” it said.
“We call on everyone concerned to desist from alarmist tendencies and politicizing these resignations and allow space for the Presidency and Parliament to deal with the matter in the best interest of the country.” (ANA)