The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) is one of many state enterprises funded by public funds through TV License levies and revenue generated from provision of advertising. Government is the shareholder of the SABC and so by all accounts, SABC is public funded and must serve public interests only. SABC is the largest mass media organization and reaches millions of people in this country.
The shenanigans involving the SABC board, ANC parliamentarians and former CEO of SABC, Dali Mpofu, fully exposed the duplicity of the SABC. In the past the SABC was a propaganda machine of the Apartheid settler colonial regime whereas today it has become an object of abuse by the ANC, through its dominant position in parliamentary politics.
Just like the Apartheid settler colonial regime, this state enterprise, the SABC, is used to spearhead dominant party propaganda instead of fulfilling its public function in a balanced, impartial and fair manner. This explains why most people are unwilling to pay TV license fees for fear that their hard earned money will be used to oil the propaganda machine of the ruling party, perpetuating its hold on popular support, contrary to the public mandate bestowed on the SABC by law.
This abuse of the public corporation takes various forms, ranging from party political partisan appointments to the boards, partisan appointment of corporations staff at all levels, interference in programming, manipulation of news, intimidation of professional journalists, and giving special coverage to the ruling party at the expense of other political parties. All these activities, including general pollution of SABC TVs with delinquent content amount to an abuse of this public corporation. Contrary to what we are told, the SABC is actually nothing but the tail of the ANC. Wherever the ANC goes, the SABC goes.
In addition to abusing the public broadcaster, the ruling party is set to stretch its abrasive tentacles around media freedom and free speech. Under the title “communications and the battle of ideas”, the 52nd National Conference of the ANC in polokwane has resolved to establish Media Appeals Tribunal (MAT) in what is clearly a deliberate ploy to muzzle the media in general. If you suppress media freedom you equally trample people’s freedom of speech.