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Mixed reaction on calls for Motsoeneng to leave SABC

Don Laka says artists don’t want Motsoeneng removed from the SABC because he listened to their pleas.

Journalists and people from the media industry gathered outside the SABC in Auckland Park, dressed in black, in support of the national broadcaster's journalists who were suspended for raising concerns about policy changes. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - As South Africans await an Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) ruling on the South African Broadcasting Corporation's (SABC) decision not to broadcast footage of violent protests, there has been mixed reactions on calls for COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng to leave the broadcaster.

Last week, acting SABC CEO Jimi Matthews resigned, saying his role at the broadcaster had been reduced to rubber-stamping decisions made by Motsoeneng.

While civil society leaders say they want to save the SABC from what they describe as a dictatorship, some South African artists have voiced their support for the COO.

Don Laka of the South African Music Movement said artists don't want Motsoeneng removed from the SABC because he's the only person who's listened to their pleas.

"He increased royalty fees for the artists so for us it's crucial to show that we're supporting him."

He said because of this, artists should be cautious of current developments at the SABC which could threaten the positive changes.

"We know that there are other things that are happening but for us, this is the man that made it possible for us South African artists."

Artists said that their support of Motsoeneng will not be eroded by any movements lobbying against him.

They said despite the resistance that Motsoeneng is facing over editorial issues in the SABC's newsrooms, he's done a lot for the development of South African artists.

But Zwelinzima Vavi, who is leading a civil society movement against the SABC, says Motsoeneng needs to be removed from his position.

"We insist that Haludi Motsoeneng himself must not be in these buildings."

So far, political party Congress of the People, trade union Solidarity and the Helen Suzman Foundation are seeking intervention on the SABC's editorial decisions.