“Mboweni, Ndabeni-Abrahams should continue engaging with SABC”

Professor Anton Harber from Wits University says Finance Minister Tito Mboweni and Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni Abrahams should continue engaging with the SABC in order to find a solution on the way forward.

Mboweni has rejected the cash-strapped public broadcaster’s request for a government guarantee and National Treasury has rejected its turnaround strategy.

Harber says part of the reason for keeping the SABC in a dire financial situation could be to exert political influence over it.

He says in order to protect the independence of the SABC as well preserve the nation’s democratic right to be informed, government has to clearly understand the SABC’s mandate.

“I think  if there are issues with the SABC’s turnaround strategy there appears to be a strong good board there that is being open about its plans. The minister should be saying clearly what he wants to see differently and how that can be addressed quickly. I think there are always attempts to pull back on the independence of the SABC to try and get greater political control and influence over the SABC.

The minister has to get right what the function and the role of the SABC is. The board has to be absolutely firm and strong in protecting their right and to make sure they’re serving the public interest.”

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