For South Africa's official broadcasting regulator to lay criminal charges against the SABC is wholly unprecedented for the regulator, for the SABC, for broadcasting and TV broadcasting in South Africa and TV news in the history of the nation. It has never happened before.
The SABC's faces a massive and unprecedented R1 million fine or jail time for those responsible, over its failure to comply with the Icasa order and its failure to inform Icasa what the broadcaster's situation is regarding its ban on public protest visuals it started in 2016.
The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) told parliament's ad hoc committee investigating the SABC that criminal charges have been laid against the SABC at the Bramley police station in November 2016 over the SABC's complete failure to respond to Icasa's order that the SABC end its censorship of protest visuals in SABC News TV coverage.
South Africa's Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) known as the Hawks, are now investigating the SABC after months of silence from the South African Broadcasting Corporation refusing to officially inform Icasa that it will end the censorship on SABC TV news the SABC started in May 2016.
Nomvuyiso Batyi, Icasa councillor, told parliament's portfolio committee on communications that they have written to the SABC several times in 2016 but that the SABC refused to comply. Criminal charges have now been filed against the SABC.
"We can pursue criminal charges against the SABC, which we have."
"As of two weeks back, we made follow ups as to know the status of the investigation because we have an investigator assigned and then we were advised now that the matter is with the Hawks. We're yet to be furnished with the case number there."