Public protest at SABC on Thursday
Cape Town – The public protest by South Africa's TV industry and public pressure groups against the SABC – and set for this Thursday at 13:00 in Johannesburg and Cape Town – is gathering steam.
Protesters are demanding the immediate removal of SABC chairperson Dr Ben Ngubane as well as strategic and accountable leadership at the SABC and more quality local content.
Following similar public picketing action in 2009, South Africa's TV industry and public pressure groups are once again uniting in a show of force, calling for "all concerned citizens to join a picket outside the SABC this Thursday to ask for visionary leadership at South Africa's public broadcaster now".
The public protest, with protesters asked to dress in black and red and to bring placards, will take place at 13:00 at the SABC's Auckland Park headquarters in Henley Avenue in Johannesburg, as well as in Cape Town at the visitors' centre at parliament.
In Johannesburg a petition will be handed to the SABC and in Cape Town a memorandum will be handed to the chairperson of the portfolio committee on communications at parliament, Eric Kholwane.
The picketing is supported by a number of organisations comprising the bulk of South Africa's TV industry.
The SOS Coalition is a public pressure group representing a vast range of stakeholders from telecom and media unions to academics and trade bodies that together represent thousands of workers and stakeholders across South Africa's TV and film industry. They're all united in Thursday's public protest action.
Ordinary TV viewers and radio listeners are also asked to join the public protest on Thursday. "Definitely ordinary TV viewers and radio listeners should join," said Kate Skinner, coordinator of the SOS Coalition.
"We are talking about good corporate governance at the SABC and the need for excellent public service programming from the public broadcaster. Everyone should be concerned about that," she says.
The public protest, called "Visionary Leadership Now", demands the removal of Ngubane, more quality local content on the public broadcaster as well as answers to management instability and dubious decisions made in the past year at the public broadcaster.
Sorry state of affairs at SABC
"Someone needs to take accountability for the sorry state of affairs at our public broadcaster," said Skinner.
"Nothing will change if no-one is held to account. We hope to get Dr Ben Ngubane removed. At the very least we hope to highlight the importance of public broadcasting.
"We want to put pressure on the SABC to deal with these problems once and for all," she says. "We want to tell the SABC 'we are watching you' and we demand something better. Much, much better.
"In fact – until ordinary people stand up and fight for better public TV in South Africa, we are not going to get it."
The SABC didn't respond to media enquiries made last week about the TV industry's demand that Ngubane step down, or the planned public protest action scheduled for Thursday November 24.