The request follows the announcement by the Finance Minister, Tito Mboweni in Parliament that Treasury will use its contingency reserve fund to “support” the SABC.\
Phumzile Van Damme MP, the DA’s Shadow Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies, says that during his speech in Parliament, the Minister provided scant detail on the financial support, save to state that the funding will be provided in tranches and that a Chief Reorganization Officer (CRO) will be appointed.
“It is critical that Minister Ndabeni-Abrahams as the Minister under whose portfolio the SABC lies, provide the public and Parliament with full information regarding this financial support,” she says.
The DA believes that Parliament, to whom the SABC is accountable, must be provided with the full details and importantly, Treasury’s full pre-conditions so it can exercise its oversight to ensure that the conditions are indeed being met and the funding is not being mismanaged to prevent the SABC from finding itself in yet another financial crisis.
The DA will therefore request that Minister Ndabeni-Abrahams report back to the Portfolio Committee on Communications and Digital Technologies with the following information:
- The full details and amounts of the tranches of funding that will be provided to the SABC;
- The full details related to the position of the CRO, which must not infringe on the SABC’s independence; and,
- The conditions related to the provision of the funding with clear deliverables, deadlines and accountability mechanisms.
She says she will will write to the Chairperson of the Committee, Hope Papo, requesting for an urgent meeting to be held in this regard.
“For over a year now, the SABC has been on the precipice awaiting assistance from government. The current management of the public broadcaster has shown itself to be dedicated to pull the SABC back on its feet, following the years of looting by Hlaudi Motsoeneng and his cabal.\
Ministers Mboweni and Ndabeni-Abrahams are worryingly late in their response to the calls for support following pressure from the DA and civil society over the last few weeks. But, there is an opportunity for redemption, which we trust both Ministers will take and not disappoint.
“It is imperative that the staff of the SABC who have been living their lives on the edge fearing the loss of their jobs and income to be provided with full information. Similarly, those of our country who rely on the SABC for education, entertainment and information need to be assured that the SABC’s radio and TV stations will not be off-air.
“We await the full information of the details of this financial support, and trust that Minister Ndabeni-Abrahams will respond promptly to this matter.”