SABC woes

Dr Ellapen Rapiti, Kenwyn

The state of affairs at the SABC, the public broadcaster, under Chief Operations Officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng should be a cause for great concern for the citizens of our country and for our young democracy.

The resignation of the acting CEO Jimi Matthews because of the corrosive atmosphere at the SABC; the number of journalists who were dismissed for disobeying orders that went against their ethical and journalistic teachings; widespread protests by seniors announcers at the SABC’s offices and Mr Motsoeneng’s claim that he is popular in the country shows a great parallel between Mr Motsoeneng’s propaganda style with that of Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s closest associate and head of the Nazi propaganda machinery in the 30s.

When Germany became a dictatorship under Hitler, German scholars made a list of books that Germans should not read.

The German security went to libraries by torchlight and accumulated about 25 000 books written by Jewish and non-Jewish authors and set them alight in one big bon-fire in an effort to purge the German spirit.

Some of the authors included Einstein, Freud, Ernest Hemmingway and Hellen Keller.

When Mr Motsoeneng ordered the SABC journalists not to cover the violent protests in Tshwane and to portray the president in a favourable light, it was clear that this man, who lied about his matric and with no qualifications in journalism, was taking his instructions from Luthuli House to keep his post.

The only difference between Mr Motsoeneng and Goebbels is that times have changed.

If the SABC does not report news, there are millions of ways for the public to get in touch with the news through the other media channels and through social media.

Mr Motsoeneng very naively, dismissed the power of social media in a recent interview.

Clearly, when the man does not know the meaning of censorship and does not respect the power of social media, then one has to ask: how was he appointed as head of a public broadcaster as powerful as the SABC with no qualifications.

The SABC is a public broadcaster, owned by the public and not by the state.

The state must respect the independence of the SABC to present the news frankly and fearlessly without any interference from the state, while we are still a democracy.

The state capture of the SABC should be ideal grounds for a party like the EFF to expose the ANC from an election point of view because they have a lot to lose if the SABC fails to cover their rallies.

It is time for South Africans from all walks of life to make a stand and take back the SABC and stop Luthuli house from destroying our hard fought for democracy.