South Africa’s controversial Broadcasting Amendment Bill will be discussed in today’s sitting of Parliament in Cape Town.
According to the Democratic Alliance, the bill will give President Jacob Zuma the power to appoint non-executive members of the board on the advice of the Minister of Communications, Faith Muthambi. She will in turn be advised by a “nominating committee”, which she will appoint herself.
The DA said the number of the non-executive board members will be reduced from 12 to 9 and quorum from 9 to 7, and the opposition party has hinted this will mean less room for dissenting opinion.
Since the impact of the Bill will have far-reaching effects, the DA will push for an extensive public consultation process.
“Our law is very clear on the importance of public participation. Section 59 of the Constitution specifically provides for it, and the Constitutional Court has established legal precedent directly on point in the Doctors for Life International v Speaker of the National Assembly, case,” said Phumzile van Damme, DA national spokesperson, in a statement.
In December last year, Sekhoetlane Phamodi, National Co-ordinator at SOS: Support Public Broadcasting told htxt.africa that the Bill will be bad news for everybody.
“[Should this bill pass]… the SABC will be used as it was during the Apartheid regime and this is something we cannot accept. This bill compromises the integrity of the SABC, turning it into state entity which is an affront to the values of the broadcaster which 7 million households depend on for information.”
[Image – CC by 2.0/Chuck Olsen]