Johannesburg - The Democratic Alliance has asked SABC board chairperson Bongumusa Makhathini to request that the public broadcaster flights the Zondo Judicial Commission of Inquiry into State Capture on its terrestrial platforms, including television and radio, the DA said on Sunday.
But the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) says it will "not entertain any influence and/or interference which stand to threaten its independence".
DA spokesperson Natasha Mazzone said: "The majority of South Africans are currently only getting mediated coverage of this crucial commission, and only those with access to satellite television and internet connections that allow for streaming are able to watch the commission’s live feed on a continuous basis. This leaves most people relying on news agencies to keep them updated on developments throughout the day."
Over the next few weeks the commission would hear testimonies from former and current ministers Nhlanhla Nene, Pravin Gordhan, and Barbara Hogan on allegations related to the role of the Guptas and former president Jacob Zuma in state capture. These were crucial testimonies that every South African deserved to hear, she said.
The Zondo Commission was of profound national importance and the SABC, as the public broadcaster, had a duty to dedicate at least one of its terrestrial TV channels and one of its radio stations to broadcasting developments. Every South African would in some way pay the price for the damage state capture had done to the state and the economy. It was therefore paramount that the SABC broadcast the commission on its terrestrial platforms as ordinary South Africans had the right to know what happened and who was responsible, Mazzone said.
In response to media reports about the DA's letter to Makhathini, spokeswoman Neo Momodu said in a statement that the SABC will "not entertain any influence and/or interference which stand to threaten its independence".
The state capture inquiry was receiving extensive coverage across all bulletins, radio stations, and television channels under the direction of the SABC’s editorial staff. she said.
The SABC programming decisions were governed by the SABC charter which enshrined the journalistic, creative, and programming independence of its editorial staff. The charter was constitutionally protected by section 16 of the Bill of Rights in the Constitution.
"The SABC will therefore continue to subscribe to its core editorial values of equality, editorial independence, nation building, diversity, human dignity, accountability, and transparency, and will not entertain any influence and/or interference which stand to threaten its independence," Momodu said.
African News Agency/ANA