Numsa statement on SABC
29 June 2016
The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) strongly condemns the suspension of three South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) journalists - economics editor, Thandeka Gqubule, Radio Sonder Grense executive producer Foeta Krige and senior journalist Suna Venter - for the “offence” of questioning the ban on visual coverage of protests, in particular a protest against censorship at the public broadcaster itself.
The union demands their immediate and unconditional reinstatement.
We also welcomes the decision of Acting CEO Jimi Matthews to resign‚ for, as he puts it, having been “complicit in many decisions which I am not proud of” and the authors of the from the Executive Producer (EP) of Special Assignment, Busisiwe Ntuli, EP of Current Affairs Krivani Pillay and a senior investigative reporter Jacques Steenkamp, expressing their "increasing concern" about the changes in the SABC newsroom, which they say “has become a source of derision, despair and criticism from the people that we are fundamentally accountable to, the public at large".
"The developments of the past week have heightened this sense of fear, lack of clarity about our journalistic responsibility and low staff morale," they write, and disapprove of “the decisions to remove the newspaper slots and morning programme The Editors on SAFM's AM Live show, saying their removal amounts to ‘censorship’ without an adequate justification. They also express their "deep concern" for the journalists suspended by the broadcaster for stating their desire to cover a protest outside the SABC building.