South African minister faces grilling over SABC crisis

Faith Muthambi

Faith Muthambi

South African communications minister Faith Muthambi is to face parliamentarians today amid criticism of her lack of action over a crisis enveloping state broadcasters SABC.

The hearing follows a series of controversial editorial decisions by SABC including the alleged censorship of violent protests and demands from broadcasting regulator Icasa that the banning of coverage of the protests was unacceptable.

SABC chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng has denied he was censoring news and dismissing staff who dissented from his views.

Muthambi has defended her policy of non-intervention and said she had faith in SABC’s board to regulate the broadcaster.

“We deliberately decided not to pursue an interventionist stance as the ministry. Our view is that, these are in fact operational issues which need to be resolved by the board as the accounting authority for the Corporation,” she said in a statement.

“Failure to observe this key constitutional and policy provision would, in fact, render the ministry as interfering with the duties of the board and management of the public broadcaster. This is something we have not done in the past, and that we do not wish to do in the future.”