Calls for intervention at SABC on eve of ‘Black Friday’

Numsa criticised the SABC for taking action against journalists who posed questions about its policies.

FILE: SABC headquarters in Johannesburg. Picture: Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG - As some people working in media prepare to join the black Friday protest at the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) tomorrow, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) says the public broadcaster is fast becoming a state broadcaster and that has to stop.

Journalists across the country along with ordinary citizens and unions are expected to picket, as a show of support for staff members who have taken a stand against controversial changes to editorial policies.

It's believed three senior staff members who penned a letter to management have now been charged with misconduct and will appear before a disciplinary committee tomorrow.

Numsa's Patrick Craven has criticised the public broadcaster for taking action against journalists who have posed questions about the SABC's policies.

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He says all South Africans need to support the journalists.

"Increasingly, we are seeing the public broadcaster being turned into a state broadcaster, even a factional broadcaster, which is absolutely against its own charter."

Craven says the protesters also want to take a stand against censorship at the broadcaster.

Numsa has joined other unions calling on all South Africans to join the Black Friday protest at the SABC tomorrow.

Craven says journalists need to show solidarity.

"The main specific issue is in support of the workers in SABC who are very angry and concerned about the state of morale within the broadcaster."

Earlier this week, Hlaudi Motsoeneng told a packed venue that there was no crisis or revolt at the public broadcaster.

Last week, Icasa's complaints committee heard details about the decision not to show footage of protesters damaging public property.

A ruling on that matter is yet to be made.

LISTEN: Right to know to protest outside SABC offices


Meanwhile, Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) says its hopeful the black Friday protest at the SABC tomorrow will bring about change.

Acting CEO Jimi Mathews resigned this week, citing the "corrosive atmosphere" at work.

Outa's Wayne Duvenage said, "If we do nothing, then that's the worst situation. Will it change the minds of the leadership at the SABC? We believe it does. If it doesn't do so overtly, they stand their ground and continue in the way that they do and it doesn't go unnoticed."