“Johannesburg, 03 September 2016 – ANC veteran Zola Skweyiya has added his voice to calls for an early elective conference. In an exclusive interview with eNCA, Skweyiya says he believes ANC leaders are out of touch with the aspirations of South Africans” (eNCA, 2016)
The SABC is silencing journalists who protest censorship and advocate for press freedom, while its leadership appears more interested in protecting and serving a privileged few than the Public.
WASHINGTON D.C., United States of America, July 20, 2016/APO/ —
In response to the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) firing seven staff journalists and a freelance writer, who are collectively known as the SABC 8, Freedom House issued the following statement:
“It is deplorable that the SABC fired its own journalists for insisting on covering the news,” said Lynn Fredriksson, director for Southern Africa programs. “The SABC is silencing journalists who protest censorship and advocate for press freedom, while its leadership appears more interested in protecting and serving a privileged few than the public. The SABC should quickly reinstate the journalists and reverse its decision to censor news content.”
Seven SABC journalists and one contracted freelance journalist were fired between July 18-19 for protesting an SABC management decision not to report on violent protests, a directive issued by Chief Operating Officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng in May 2016, ahead of violent unrest in Tshwane, the metropolitan area that includes Pretoria, the national capital. Critics of the SABC have likened its behavior to that of the Apartheid-era state broadcaster of the same name, in its use by the government as a propaganda tool.
The eight journalists say they will contest their firing in Labour Court and the Constitutional Court.
In November last year, the SABC’s previous CEO, Frans Matlala, was erroneously suspended for acting in a manner “too independent” for Mr Motsoeneng and Minister of Propaganda, Faith Muthambi.
In March this year, the SABC cancelled senior political journalist Vuyo Mvoko’s show, On The Record, after he had planned to discuss state capture by the Guptas on a future instalment of his show.
In May this year, the SABC refused to air the DA’s election adverts, citing “delays in the IEC’s work with respect to the elections”.
In June this year, Hlaudi banned the reading of newspaper headlines on all SABC radio stations.
Also in June this year, The Editors – a very popular programme on SAFM on Sunday mornings where the political events of the week are critically analysed, debated and discussed by newspaper journalists and editors – was discontinued.
Just last week, Hlaudi Motsoeneng placed a ban of visuals of community protests involving the destruction of public property in Tshwane.
Fellow South Africans, our constitution protects freedom of the press and the free flow of information by stating that “everyone has the right to freedom of expression, which includes freedom of the press and other media, and freedom to receive or impart information or ideas”.
Nowhere in the Constitution does it say – “unless the President does not approve, or unless it paints the government and governing party in a bad light”.
Tonight’s announcement by President Zuma that he has fired Nhanhla Nene as Finance Minister is a reckless and dangerous move that further damages our country’s economy. Accompanied by no reasons for such a drastic move, one can only conclude that tonight’s action is yet another example of how President Zuma puts himself first and the country second.
It is common knowledge that Nhanhla Nene sought to reign in excessive government spending and was causing too much of a blockage for President Zuma in respect of the nuclear procurement deal and SAA. President Zuma has made one thing very clear tonight: if you stand in my way as Finance Minister and seek to introduce fiscal prudence, you will find yourself redeployed and cast aside. A Zuma ANC government has no regard for sensible finance policy that puts South Africa first.
Tonight’s firing of Nhanhla Nene has already had profoundly negative effects on the rand which has plummeted since news of the announcement broke. This is sure to make the plight of the unemployed in South Africa even more difficult.
The appointment of David van Rooyen as Finance Minister provides no assurance that our economy is in safe hands. The fact that President Zuma waited until after last Friday’s rating assessments to make this decision shows that he knew this was a bad decision.
By President Zuma’s own admission, Mr Nene “has done well […] during a difficult economic climate, so it makes absolutely no sense for him to be fired. President Zuma has again proven himself to be a President incapable of making the right decisions to set South Africa on a path to increased economic growth and job creation.
At this time, our country requires strong economic leadership. Tonight’s decision is the complete opposite.
As the DA, we will subject Minister van Rooyen to close oversight as he begins his tenure. And we will intensify our efforts to bring change to South Africa. Change that brings strong leadership and a government that puts South Africa and its people first.