Broadcasting Amendment Bill to be discussed in Parliament

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South Africa’s controversial Broadcasting Amendment Bill will be discussed in today’s sitting of Parliament in Cape Town.

The Bill if passed, would see the SABC lose most of its independence and fall under the almost-total control of the ANC.

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 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]

Charlie Fripp

Charlie Fripp

Charlie started his professional life as a motoring journalist for a community newspaper in Mpumalanga, Charlie explored different journalistic angles since his entry into the fast-paced world of publishing in 2006. While fostering a passion for the arts, Charlie developed a love for technology – both which allowed him to serve as Entertainment and Technology Editor for an online publication. Charlie has since been heavily involved in consumer technology for various websites and publications. He thoroughly enjoys World War II films and cerebral documentaries; aviation; photography and indie music. Oh yes, and he also has a rather strange obsession with collecting coffee mugs from his travels.