CWU backs parliamentary committee probing SABC

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) has expressed confidence in Parliament’s ad hoc committee investigating the SABC.

“It’s a balanced team that won’t look at one side… It’s a team that will do well,” said general secretary Aubrey Tshabalala, adding that there was a balance in the inquiry’s proposed witness list, which includes former public protector Thuli Madonsela, Communications Minister Faith Muthambi and the SABC’s acting political editor Sophie Mokoena.

CWU president Clyde Mervin wanted the process to be fast-tracked, saying that if a cloud continued to hang over the public broadcaster it would lead to greater problems. He also shared some of the union’s wishes regarding members of a new board, when it is eventually established.

“We want a board member representative from labour, one to advance the interests of workers,” said Mervin.

When asked about the SABC 8 and allegations that some of them were being harassed, the CWU leadership said it had observed the developments from a distance as none of the SABC members who were initially suspended, fired and then reinstated had approached it for assistance.

“We are not sure about the extent of the so-called attacks, but feel journalists should not be harassed. Journalists should be allowed to do their work,” said the general secretary.

The CWU also hit out at the remaining non-executive member of the board, chairperson Mbulaheni Maguvhe. This after the resignation of two more board members.

Maguvhe was displaying “Pavarotti” soloist tendencies, said Tshabalala.

March to the Citizen

The CWU felt there was a bias and promotion of a particular narrative in the media.

“We are now convinced more than ever that white monopoly capital controls media institutions,” said Tshabalala.

The leaders of the union acknowledged that different factions were doing battle in the ANC, but said only one side was being represented by the media.

“We want to live in a country where journalists are free to report and investigate news as they are,” he said.

The CWU hit out at the Citizen newspaper for suspending chief editor Steve Motale for an article on SAA board chairperson Dudu Myeni.

It also criticised former finance minister Trevor Manuel for his reaction to journalists from the newspaper. Manuel is said to have insulted them in two separate incidents when they attempted to question him, the CWU said.

The CWU, along with the Forum of Journalists for Transformation, will march to the Citizen newspaper on November 23. This will be a demonstration against the exploitation of journalists, discrimination in the media industry, censorship and victimisation of journalists.


Now read: SABC journalists need police protection – MPs

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CWU backs parliamentary committee probing SABC