Johannesburg - Communications and digital technologies minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams deliberately withheld from Parliament last week that Finance Minister Tito Mboweni had declined, in a letter, to provide a guarantee to public broadcaster SABC, the main opposition Democratic Alliance said on Monday.
The financially strained South African Broadcasting Corporation has warned of a probable blackout as it struggles to pay its debt and staff. Recent mishaps, including a fire in a canteen last month which saw 15 people hospitalised for mild smoke inhalation, have raised concerns about the risk to employees due to the failure to do maintenance work on facilities.
In a statement, DA shadow minister of communications & digital technologies Phumzile Van Damme said Mboweni's letter dated June 25, which her party had seen, "also reveals a finance minister who does not understand the constitutional role of the SABC".
Van Damme said Ndabeni-Abrahams, who appeared before parliament's portfolio committee on communications on July 3, made no mention of the letter, which the DA legislator said contained crucial information that not only the public, but parliament ought to have been appraised of.
She said Mboweni, in the letter, stated that the SABC "is ultimately only an implementing agent for the department of communications".