Johannesburg - President Cyril Ramaphosa has denied rumours that the ANC is working to collapse the SABC ahead of the next year's general elections.
Ramaphosa was responding to accusations by some opposition political parties such as the DA and the EFF who have accused the party of being on a campaign to destabilise the SABC. These accusations follow the sudden resignation of four SABC board members in the past two weeks.
Krish Naidoo, Khanyisile Kweyama, John Mattison and Mathatha Tsedu resigned from the SABC board citing various reasons. Ramaphosa accepted the resignations.
The president told Talk Radio 702 on Thursday night that the ANC would never work to see the demise of the SABC.
"I must refute that as the president of the country and that of the ANC. There is absolutely no truth in that. What we want to see is a strong SABC, we want to see a well-functioning SABC and a well-resourced SABC. There is no way that I would countenance the collapse of the SABC and the shambles at the SABC, I could never countenance that," said Ramaphosa.
When asked why he accepted the resignations of the board members, he said he could not reject them as the former board members had stated their reasons.
"The members themselves came forward and wrote saying they 'we' want out. And when someone writes you a cogent letter and puts forward their reasons, it is a little difficult to say that I am not going to release you," he said.
Ramaphosa could also not confirm whether the SABC would receive a government guarantee as it was facing financial strain.
"The SABC issue is being addressed, it is being addressed actively. I was in a meeting this afternoon looking at the SABC issue and that too is going to be resolved. The SABC is going through a rather difficult time, it is a public broadcaster which needs to make information available to all the people of our country," said Ramaphosa.
The SABC is facing financial issues and the board said it could not guarantee the payment of salaries next year. The board had recommended retrenchments as part of its turnaround strategy, but the option has been criticised.
The board also clashed with the newly appointed minister of communications Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams over the retrenchments.
Ramaphosa said he had indicated that he wants the vacancy issue within the board to be resolved as quickly as possible. The board is not in inquorate and will only have 30 days to make decisions and thereafter they will longer be able to do so.
"What we are now faced with is a situation where we now need to assess the situation through the Parliamentary committee with interviews taking place. I would like to see that happening as quickly as possible so that we must never put the SABC jeopardy with its programmes and the work that they have to do," said Ramaphosa.IOL