Multiple protests set to rock SABC

2012-09-12 18:00
Cape Town – The South African public broadcaster is bracing itself to be besieged as the SABC, again mired in management upheaval, will experience public picketing within days from multiple fronts.

The trade union Mwasa and the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) are both set for separate public marches and picketing at the SABC's Auckland Park headquarters this coming Friday and Monday.

The public protest marches against the SABC comes as the SABC chairperson Dr Ben Ngubane told parliament on Tuesday that the SABC board has "degenerated into serious dysfunctionality".

The SABC board had passed a vote of no confidence in the board member Cawekazi Mahlati and on Tuesday asked parliament to suspend her.

Meanwhile, five months after being placed on "special leave" the disciplinary hearing against the SABC’s head of news and current affairs, Phil Molefe, keeps being postponed.

Without its appointed head of news the SABC is trying to set up its own 24-hour news channel on DStv with funding from MultiChoice – which the SABC said in August would launch at the beginning of September.

On Tuesday, the SABC also cancelled an interview with disgraced former ANC Youth leader Julius Malema, after which "Juju", as he's popularly known, was given an interview on Tuesday night by Christiane Amanpour on CNN International.

IFP 'extremely unhappy' with news coverage

For the first time in the party's history, the Inkatha Freedom Party will embark on a mass march against the SABC on Friday, 14 September.

The march will start at 10:00 from the Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newton to the SABC's Auckland Park headquarters where the IFP will hand over a memorandum of demands to the broadcaster.

The IFP is extremely unhappy over what it calls unfair political news coverage. "For years the IFP has continuously engaged the SABC over its anti-IFP coverage and the way in which opposition parties are not fairly represented on all of the public broadcaster's radio and television channels.

"This year, for example, two of the IFP's three major events - its Freedom Day and Women's Day rally - did not receive TV coverage at all," said the IFP in a statement.

"This is coupled with anti-IFP programmes that have been aired, such as The Bang Bang Club. Now the IFP will take to the streets to demand fairness from the public broadcaster.

"South Africans must demand of their public broadcaster that they be treated with respect and not force-fed and manipulated with political propaganda. This will be the IFP's message when it embarks on a mass march on Friday," added the IFP.

Mwasa demands 'an SABC that works'

Meanwhile, trade union Mwasa plans to be picketing outside the SABC on Monday 19 September.

Mwasa plans to also hand over a memorandum to the SABC, placing several demands for the public broadcaster to address.

"We demand an SABC that works," says Mwasa. "We cannot continue with this regression and crisis management.

"We believe we are being prevented from performing our role as workers, staff, a corporate citizen and as human beings in serving the country and its people through the medium of the SABC."

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