COPE condemns Motsoeneng's move to censor footage showing violence
27 May 2016
Congress of the People condemns Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s move to censor footage on violence. His reasoning that giving “publicity to such actions that are destructive and regressive” encourages copycat actions elsewhere is shallow and faulty. He is utterly mistaken that such censorship will put an end to violent demonstrations, vandalism and arson. He will achieve the very opposite of what he has et out to do. Motsoeneng is living in an ivory tower far removed from the reality of present day South Africa.
People are crying out to get government’s attention. In the absence of constituency representation at both the national and provincial level, people have no channel to direct their grievances to get political intervention. Ruling party MPs and MPLs are not be seen anywhere when people take to the streets to vent their anger. For them party takes precedence over country and the political elite come before citizens. The ruling party elite is also living in a double layered ivory tower.
Cope condemns very strongly the destruction of property – private as well as government-owned. The destruction of schools in Vuyani or the torching of the great hall at the University of Johannesburg, amongst other such mad acts can never be tolerated. These are criminal actions that must be prosecuted to bring the criminals to book.
However, the failure of governance is showing. People are becoming very frustrated and disillusioned. In our view, service delivery protests should never be happening in the first place if government was successful, proactive, honest and competent. As government is squandering state resources and neglecting communities, protests have become the order of the day. Therefore, Motsoeneng’s decision to blackout reality is a slip down a very dark hole. It is a miscalculation of gargantuan proportion.
Motsoeneng is completely distorting the SABC’s mandate when he links his censorship to the function of educating the citizens. How do you educate people by keeping them ignorant of what is happening? A safe and stable society requires an informed citizenry. His decision to censor footage in order to “show that violent protests are not necessary” is politically ignorant. We totally disagree with him. It shows nothing and reveals nothing. It will only highlight that SABC is hiding what is ugly and hurting in our country. If he wants to live in cloud cuckoo land, he must spare the rest of us from deceiving ourselves.
We can all agree, except for criminals and arsonists, that protest is a constitutional right coming with the equally important obligation to be peaceful and lawful. Hiding such protests when these are shown all around the world, achieves no objective other than keeping South Africans in the dark.
What will the criminal elements do now that the ruling party is ignoring their grievances and HMV SABC is censoring their acts of criminality and destruction? They will upscale the level of violence and destruction so that they can get the attention they want. Instead of going away, violence will take on mega proportions. Instead of eliminating the problem, Motsoeneng will exacerbate it.
The ruling party and Motsoeneng have no vision and no solution for South Africa. In their view, dissent must be suppressed whichever way it can in the hope that it will go away. Unfortunately, those who sow censorship reap a hurricane.
Issued by Dennis Bloem, COPE spokesperson, 27 May 2016