Johannesburg - Former communications minister Faith Muthambi has lashed out at the report of the SABC inquiry which fingered her as being among those who were key in the editorial interference at the SABC.
The inquiry, headed by veteran journalist Joe Thloloe, has detailed how the public broadcaster was gripped by fear, pain and frustration among workers, with the spectre of the ANC hovering over the newsroom.
In a statement on Tuesday, Muthambi dismissed the report, saying it was based on untested claims.
“It is not good enough for the authors to point fingers at a Cabinet Minister and SABC Board members and make reference to “enforced” instructions from the top without evidence. Perhaps only a retired or tired person can do that. It would have been just and honourable for the authors to contact me to hear my side of the story than to rubbish my name in this manner,” Muthambi said.
“The latest controversy surrounding editorial practices at the SABC, unfortunately being made by an individual who has fallen out of favour with his employer, have also regretfully once again drawn our names and reputations into the fray,” she said.
The report found the SABC to have suffered from the capricious use of authority and power to terrorise staff.
“The evidence shows that from the year 2012 up until the year 2017, SABC executives took instructions from people with no authority in the newsroom, for example, members of the board Ellen Tshabalala and the minister of communications Faith Muthambi,” Thloloe said.
“There are several incidences where minister Faith Muthambi interfered in the editorial decision making in KwaZulu-Natal and in Limpopo,” he said.
Thloloe also noted the close proximity of Muthambi and former SABC chief operations officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng to former president Jacob Zuma, remarking that they had even gone to KZN to give support to him, a remark which Muthambi slammed.
“Their hangover of former president clouded their judgement. They insinuate unpalatable relations which I seem to have had with the former COO which in their minds, led to this so called interference which I seemed to have done at the SABC.
“Equally, I am guilty for being at the same place, at the same time with the former COO when I showed up to support the former president in court in Durban, which I don’t know where they get a mandate to investigate my personal life,” Muthambi said.
Motsoeneng had indicated that he was not apologetic about his attempts to change the newsroom culture at the public broadcaster, including effecting the appointments he made which were found to be irregular.
The SABC has announced that it was dragging Motsoeneng to court in a bid to recover around R21-million from him.