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ANC’s support of SABC censorship an attack on media freedom – Phumzile van Damme

Phumzile van Damme

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The DA today stands in solidarity with journalists at the SABC who have been suspended for simply doing their job without fear of favour.

We know that throughout the SABC there are hard-working journalists, who practise excellent journalism on a daily basis. We applaud you for the work you do for South Africa.

ANC Spokesperson, Zizi Kodwa’s full-scale attack on the peaceful protests this morning are not only shameful, but a deliberate attempt to undermine media freedom. It has left me angry.

Mr Kodwa is quoted on social media as saying: “our struggle to protect SABC must be based on principle not on some postulated values of media freedom” and that the “the reflection of people picketing outside SABC offices reveals the real Agenda to capture the corporation.”

It is now clear for all to see that the ANC has come out in support of Jacob Zuma’s pal, Hlaudi Motsoeneng. While it is indeed upsetting to witness this attack, it comes as no surprise. The truth is that Hlaudi was deployed to the SABC to do the ANC’s bidding. The ANC will always come first and the constitutional rights, which so many people died for, a distant second.

It is time to end the politically motivated assault at the SABC once and for all. It is for this reason that the DA this week approached the ANC Chief Whip to schedule an urgent Unusual Meeting of the Portfolio Committee on Communications in terms of National Assembly (NA) Rule 223. Parliament’s continued silence in this regard will make it complicit in the erosion of the public broadcaster and cannot abdicate its responsibilities to hold the SABC to its obligation to act in the public interest.

We urge the Committee to meet and for Hlaudi Motsoeneng to be summoned immediately to explain himself. The Portfolio Committee should not permit this “corrosive atmosphere” to persist.

Issued by Phumzile van Damme, Phumzile van Damme is DA’s National Spokesperson

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