Johannesburg – The South African Communist Party (SACP) says that it is becoming aware of the growing dominance of commercial capitalist interests overriding those of public service at the SABC.
The Communist Party says that the SABC Board has a critical role in ensuring that, through its oversight and strategic guidance of management, SABC stays true to its developmental mandate.
According to the SACP, this must include ensuring that as management attracts talent to work at SABC, such staff are trained and retooled to understand that SABC is different from other commercial and capitalist media platforms.
“The SABC’s agenda is a public service one guided by the Constitution and the Public Service Broadcasting Charter. It has to be sensitive to and respond to the needs for education, information, and entertainment of the poor and working-class, and not only the elitist and moneyed capitalist interests.
There are a number of other lessons that must be learned from the process of selecting the SABC board. First, the National Assembly must start the process of appointing a new board and other entities within its purview at least six months before the end of the current term. This will avoid unnecessary delays that have been experienced during this process of selecting the SABC Board,“ read the statement.
The party said that Parliament should be stringent in ensuring that basic governance and ethical principles are observed.
In the statement, the SACP also strongly believed that in selecting board members of the SABC, there must be careful consideration of the pool of skills on the board.
“We notice that there are many board members with news backgrounds. Journalistic skills are needed on the board. The SABC is not just a news institution. It has a much broader developmental mandate and role, and that it is simultaneously playing a crucial role as a repository of our history, national memory, and cultural diversity in our country, over and above playing its education and information role,” added the statement.
The SACP says that it is important to have a pool of board members who bring a much broader understanding and expertise in other areas of importance to the role of the public broadcaster.
“Equally, the SABC is a complex organisation that is multidisciplinary in nature and requires a variety of skills and knowledge in its collective.”
The SACP will continue to play its activist role in closely monitoring that the SABC plays its broader developmental role, especially in relation to the interests of the overwhelming majority of the workers and poor of our country,“ the party said.