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Mantashe: The ANC stands firmly against censorship at the SABC

The ANC’s working committee summoned Faith Muthambi to explain developments at the SABC.

ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - African National Congress (ANC) secretary general Gwede Mantashe says the party's national working committee stands firmly against censorship at the South African Broadcasting Corporation(SABC).

He says Communications Minister Faith Muthambi's absence from the party's subcommittee meeting on communications was not an act of defiance.

The committee summoned Muthambi to the meeting yesterday to explain the recent developments at the SABC.

LISTEN: Mantashe on the SABC.

Mantashe held a briefing at Luthuli House earlier today on the outcomes of the ANC's national working committee.

Yesterday's meeting was meant to tackle what the ANC has called unconstitutional new editorial policies at the SABC, referring to the public broadcaster's ban on images showing the destruction of property during violent protests.

Mantashe says the minister wasn't the only one who was not at the meeting.

"There were a number of people of the sub-committee who were not at that meeting so we categorise that as people who didn't' attend the meeting but that did not stop the committee from doing its work (sic)."

Mantashe says the party's national working committee stands firm with the communications sub committee's position against any form of censorship at the public broadcaster.

MANTASHE WARNS SABC AGAINST CHALLENGING ICASA

At the same time, Mantashe has warned the public broadcaster that its decision to challenge Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) in court is "at its own peril".

The regulator yesterday recommended the SABC reverse its ban on footage which shows state property being destroyed during protests - but the broadcaster says it has no plans to do so and will fight to the highest court in the land if necessary.

Icasa has given the SABC seven days to comply with its order.

But the broadcaster's chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng has dug in his heels, saying the ban on certain footage will remain in place.

The ANC's secretary general has warned the broadcaster against defying Icasa's ruling.

"Icasa is a Chapter 9 institution, it has the authority to make certain decisions. If you defy those decisions, I can tell you that you will learn a hard lesson."

Mantashe says the national working committee agrees with the party's communications commission that the SABC'S decision on covering violent protests was unconstitutional.

LISTEN: Jackson Mthembu on the SABC