Monday, February 23, 2009

MPs pass amended SABC bill

The National Assembly having failed to get the bill allowing it to sack the entire board of the South African Broadcasting Corporation past the President agreed on Tuesday to amend it to bring it in line with the constitution. by Michael Hamlyn
The bill was sent back by President Kgalema Motlanthe because he felt that to sack the board without a proper enquiry was unconstitutional.

Although the opposition parties supported the amendment the DA, the IFP, the FF+, the ACDP and the ID all objected to passage of the amended bill.

DA spokesperson Dene Smuts pointed out to the House that the bill allows that the National Assembly may by simple resolution decide on the dissolution of the entire board for failure to discharge its duties, and by a further vote recommend five persons handpicked without public participation or transparency as an interim Board, which the President must appoint within ten days.

"We remain opposed to the bill because the proposition that an entire board can be evicted is destructive of the security of tenure without which an independent board cannot protect the journalistic freedom of its editorial staff," Smuts said,

"and because the installation of an interim board without any of the transparent, public, participatory selection procedures that normally apply is so clearly a further political ploy aimed at turning the SABC into an organ of the ANC, which itself has become an organ of the SACP."

The chai of the communications committee Ismail Vadi, defended the revised bill telling members that it was not sensible to allow the sacking of a single member of the board, but not the whole board if it became dysfunctional.

He said that other boards of state-owned entities become dysfunctional and have to be removed. The same should apply to the SABC.

The bill passed without division.

Courtesy of

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