Monday, August 5, 2019
'Be fast or I will fire you, I will really fire you': South Africa's former communications minister, Faith Muthambi, faces criminal charges after release of the report of the SABC's Commission of Inquiry into editorial interference and abuse at the public broadcaster.
South Africa's former communications minister, Faith Muthambi, faces criminal charges after the release of the report of the SABC's Commission of Inquiry into editorial interference and abuse at the public broadcaster in which Fath Muthambi's meddling in the editorial management of the SABC was noted.
On Monday the Commission of Inquiry into editorial interference at South Africa's public broadcaster reported that it found that the "spectre of the ANC hovered over the newsroom", that ministerial interference into the newsroom of the SABC took place, and found 'bullying and trauma" and a "work environment crippled with fear, anxiety, resentment and tensions".
Phumzile Van Damme, member of parliament of the Democratic Alliance (DA) political party said that "the DA will be laying criminal charges against Faith Muthambi".
The report of the Commission of Inquiry into interference in the decision-making in the newsroom of the SABC revealed that "from 2012 until 2017, SABC executives took instructions from people who had no authority in their newsrooms, such as former SABC chairperson Ellen Tshabalala, and Faith Muthambi", who insisted her constituency work be covered by news teams.
Phumzile Van Damme says that the "former communications minister Faith Muthambi not only violated the Broadcasting Act but also misled parliament during the SABC inquiry of 2016. This was in direct contravention of the Powers, Privileges and Immunities of Parliaments and Provincial Legislatures Act".
Faith Muthambi is alleged to have insulted members of SABC News crews dispatched on her orders to cover her events the Commission found.
When one such SABC News crew arrived at one of the Faith Muthambi-ordered events, she told the "to be fast or I will fire you, I will really fire you".
"Then she picked on this young lady and told her she looked fat and that she wasn't dressed appropriately. The journalist was wearing a nice shirt and a nice skirt".
Phumzile Van Damme says that during Faith Muthambi's testimony in parliament during the inquiry into the SABC, Faith Muthambi said she had never interfered in editorial decisions
"Given the findings in today’s report strengthens the findings made by Parliamentary Legal Services in August 2017 that she has 'tried to mislead Parliament'," said Phumzile Van Damme.
The report "should serve as a stern warning to the ANC not to engage in political interference at the SABC".
ALSO READ: Commission of inquiry into editorial interference at South Africa's public broadcaster finds 'spectre of the ANC hovered over the newsroom', ministerial interference; 'bullying and trauma' and 'work environment crippled with fear, anxiety, resentment and tensions'.
ALSO READ: After release of Commission of Inquiry's report into SABC editorial meddling the South African National Editor's Forum urges 'new custodians of the SABC newsroom to safeguard' it from future interference.
ALSO READ: SOS Coalition says Commission of Inquiry's report into SABC editorial meddling doesn't go far enough while former bosses 'Jimmy Matthews and Hlaudi Motsoeneng continue to live as symbols of South Africa's culture of impunity'.