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SABC in total turmoil – again

December 6, 2018

By Chris Forrester

South Africa’s SABC public broadcaster seems to lurch from crisis to crisis, making wholly undesirable headlines on a near-constant basis. Whether it’s allegations of financial wrong-doing, selective news coverage and bias, over-manning, boardroom spats, phone-tapping and high-level corruption, the broadcaster is never far from the news.

South Africa’s newly appointed telecoms minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams has instructed the SABC to halt a 25 percent staff cut-back programme that had been intended to save cash. Local reports says that SABC will run out of cash soon.

Officially, the minister is not permitted to involve herself in SABC’s affairs. SABC is accountable only to South Africa’s parliament, and two members of SABC’s board have quit in protest.

One local commentator, Duncan MacLeod, writing in the country’s TechCentral publication, says: “A depressing aspect of all this is that, after the disastrous Hlaudi Motsoeneng years, the current SABC board is the strongest it’s had in a long time. But its decisions are being constantly second-guessed by politicians. The board has been working tirelessly to fix the mess left by the previous board and Motsoeneng’s rotten tenure as chief operating officer.”

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