Johannesburg - EFF leader Julius Malema has accused the government of deliberately plotting the collapse of the public broadcaster by refusing to give it a guarantee.
The embattled public broadcaster once again faces instability after four of its board members resigned last week.
Former interim board chairperson Khanyisile Kweyama, her deputy Mathatha Tsedu and other board members Krish Naidoo and John Matisonn left the SABC following disagreements over planned job cuts at the institution, which may see more than 2 000 employees being retrenched.
While no guarantee has been approved by the government, the resignations have been linked to newly appointed Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams’ opposition to the planned job cuts.
Addressing members of the creative industry on Sunday as part of the EFF’s manifesto consultations, Malema said that the government was making those who allegedly looted the public broadcaster, including former chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng, look like heroes by allowing it to collapse.
“They are making people like Hlaudi heroes because now it looks like since Hlaudi left, the SABC is collapsing. They are making thugs look like heroes,” Malema said.
Malema said that the government had to be pressured to speedily provide a guarantee, as it had done by giving bailouts to state-owned companies that faced liquidity challenges.
“We cannot allow such an important institution to collapse. “An institution that is used by all, including the poor and the poorest, is refused a bailout and then South African Airways wants a guarantee – which is not even used by the poor – and it is given one.
“Not even a guarantee but a bailout. We cannot allow that,” Malema said.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has already accepted the resignation of the four board members, and the SABC has indicated that it is now waiting for Ndabeni-Abrahams to delineate a way forward. Those attending the meeting included actors, musicians and fashion designers.
They complained about a lack of transformation in their respective industries. Malema called on the creatives to speak up and rebel against hindrances to transformation.
He lamented the country’s affirmative action as a contributor to the snail’s pace of transformation, saying it was misguided as it treated the black majority as minorities.
“Affirmative action laws are passed in countries so that minorities are not excluded. “We are in a country where affirmative action is passed for the majority. “We are bargaining with the minority to be included in the mainstream economy.
“We now ask for 30% inclusion in sectors while we should be doing things the other way around,” Malema said.