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Shopsteward Volume 27: Special Bulletin

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Media Centre  |  COSATU Press Statements

COSATU condemns approval of new SABC Board


The Congress of South African Trade Unions condemns the Presidents approval of the final short-list of candidates for the Board of the SABC, which was submitted by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Communications.

This list clearly contravenes the requirement in the Broadcasting Act that the Board must include people with expertise and experience in social and labour issues and those who represent a broad cross-section of the population of the Republic.

Its approval flies in the face of criticism by COSATU, the FXI and many other representative organisations that the new Board is not sufficiently representative of South African society. There is a clear bias in favour of people from the world of BEE busin ess, while there are none from the trade unions, and the media profession, despite the short-listing of a highly respected trade union leader and experienced journalists.

COSATU fears that the new board will not address COSATUs demand for the SABC to increase and improve its coverage of labour and working-class issues, including a daily labour news slot and a weekly TV current affairs programme on labour and the working cl ass, produced by a dedicated SABC labour desk, and for a working-class perspective on the news, on such issues as poverty, development, HIV/AIDS and other developmental challenges facing our country.

To achieve these goals we need a Board that contains people from the labour constituency who understand the problems of working people.

COSATU is also concerned that the new board will not tackle the serious problem of the public broadcaster being used to promote government policies and stifle the views of those with different views, rather than a vehicle for the whole spectrum of opinions . A representative Board is essential to ensure that the SABC remains a public broadcaster and not a state broadcaster

COSATU calls for an urgent meeting of the Alliance leadership, so that we can raise the issue, and calls for the approval of the new board to be referred back to Parliament for further consideration.