NEWS & ANALYSIS

Zuma should free the SABC - COPE

Party says the public broadcaster is the president’s plaything under Faith Muthambi

ZUMA MUST SHOW WHERE HE STANDS ON WHAT IS GOING ON AT THE SABC

For the board of the SABC to have suspended group CEO, Frans Matlala, with immediate effect after only five months in office, must mean that something extraordinary had happened. Mr Matlala was a former banking executive who was handpicked by Motsoeneng and former chairwoman Tshabalala to bring his banking expertise to bear on the financial management at the SABC. It is therefore difficult to contemplate that he could have become involved in some major corruption scandal or serious transgression so soon after his appointment.

The board has ordered an investigation. Whether he survives or falls, does not matter. The SABC is politically infected and chronically ill.

The appointment of Faith Muthambi spelt disaster from the outset. Her credo is: what Baba wants, is what Baba gets. She is unwilling to exercise her mind on anything. The fate of the SABC was therefore sealed.

The SABC makes intriguing and shocking news continuously. It is frequently the setting for a soapy where nasties proliferate and chaos reigns.

First, the SABC was in the clutches of the Nats with PW Botha presiding. Now it is in the coils of the latter day ANC with President Zuma directing by remote control.

President Zuma indicated that for him, his oath of office notwithstanding, the ANC comes first. Will he therefore keep Faith Muthambi in office and let the SABC be his plaything? Or will he have a change of heart and free the SABC, finally, to become a truly independent public broadcaster run by independent professionals capable of expertly and financially managing the corporation?

We wait to see how he will act.

Issued by Dennis Bloem, Cope Spokesperson, 19 November 2015