SABC blacklist complaint withdrawn
Johannesburg - A complaint by the Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI)
against the SABC over the blacklisting of commentators, has been withdrawn.
A public hearing by the Complaints Compliance Committee (CCC)
of the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) was to be heard on Monday
The hearing has been ordered by the court after Icasa's Complaints and Compliance Committee (CCC) in June 2009 dismissed a case which was brought by the Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI) in 2007.
In January 2011, the South Gauteng High Court told Icasa that the broadcasting regulator's decision to toss the case was "fundamentally flawed" and that Icasa must rehear the case.Terms of settlement not disclosed
"Parties were engaged in a settlement agreement and the FXI hereby withdraws its complaints," advocate Nasreen Rajab-Budlender, acting for the FXI said during the hearing on Monday. The terms of the settlement were not disclosed.
Hamilton Maenetje, SC for the SABC, said the dispute had been resolved. "There is no complaint remaining. We ask for a termination of proceedings."
The FXI lodged the complaint in 2007 after allegations surfaced of a "blacklist" implemented by then group executive of news for the SABC, Snuki Zikalala
It was believed that Zikalala instructed his staff not to use certain political commentators because of their political views on the Thabo Mbeki
presidency. These commentators held particular views on the African National Congress succession debate.Commission of inquiry
A commission of inquiry was set up to investigate the allegations and it found Zikalala had given the instruction. Based on this finding, the FXI laid a complaint with Icasa.
It contended the SABC for violating the Broadcasting Act, the Icasa Act, the Constitution and its licence conditions by excluding commentators from expressing their views on the succession debate at the time.
The SABC made an application to Icasa to dismiss the complaint on the grounds that the CCC had no jurisdiction to investigate, hear, or make findings on the complaint. The CCC ruled in favour of the SABC.
The FXI then took the matter to the High Court in Johannesburg, which set aside the ruling and found Icasa did in fact have the authority to monitor the SABC's compliance.
The matter was referred back to the CCC to investigate and come to a decision on the matter.