SA’s Broadcasting Amendment Bill to be debated

Parliament’s communications committee is expected to debate the Broadcasting Amendment Bill on Tuesday.

The bill, which seeks to strengthen governance at the SABC, was introduced in Parliament late last year.

Democratic Alliance MP Phumzile van Damme said in its current form, the bill would see the last bit of independence removed from the public broadcaster. It would ensure it became an ANC-government propaganda tool under the control of the communications minister.

The department disputed this.

“This bill does not create a new regulatory regime, but seeks to strengthen corporate governance which ensures the long-term stability and sustainability of the SABC,” it said in a statement.

The changes would allow it to fulfil its public broadcasting service mandate.

Van Damme said the party would call for public comment on the bill.

“We hope that the ANC members of the committee will not prove allegations to be true that they are under instruction from Minister Faith Muthambi to rush this bill through Parliament in order to give the ANC full control over the SABC in the lead-up to the election,” she said.

One of the proposed changes in the bill is the reduction in the number of non-executive board members from 12 to nine.

The department said this would strengthen the board and streamline its operations.

Van Damme said it would result in a smaller board with less room for dissenting opinion.


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SA’s Broadcasting Amendment Bill to be debated