Icasa decision only recommendation and not ruling - SABC

The SABC has asked Icasa for the minutes of its meeting where it decided to make the recommendation an order.

FILE: A group of Hlaudi Motsoeneng supporters picket outside the SABC offices in Johannesburg. Picture: Dineo Bendile/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has told the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) that it does not believe that its ruling on the broadcaster's decision not to air images of destructive protests actually constitutes an order.

It has sent a formal letter to the communications regulator, claiming that the judgment it has been given, appears to only be a recommendation and not a ruling.

In a formal letter to Icasa, the SABC's lawyers say the judgment they have been given is from Icasa's complaints commission, which makes recommendations to Icasa's council.

On Monday, Icasa said the SABC had to immediately rescind its editorial policy change that said it would no longer show images of violent and destructive protests.

They say as a result, they have received no order from Icasa. The lawyers say this makes it difficult to decide whether to appeal the decision.

Earlier this week, SABC chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoneng said they would appeal this ruling and that no outsider would tell the SABC what to do.

The broadcaster's lawyers have now formally asked Icasa for the full minutes of its meeting at which it decided to make the recommendation an order.


Meanwhile, Deputy Communications Minister Stella Ndebeni has declined to weigh in on the various debacles gripping the SABC.

Ndabeni said the ministry is awaiting a briefing from the SABC board and will only comment after the broadcaster releases its annual report.

She said the communications ministry is waiting for the SABC to table its annual report in Parliament in September.

"For now they've not presented it. Until such time that we're able to analyse and say where did we go wrong, that's what we can do. But we're still in a learning curve as we make mistakes.

"But ours is to make sure that we bridge those gaps, we bring the people if we're saying it's skills shortage but if we see that it's mismanagement, how do we deal with that?"

Ndabeni is also not commenting of Icasa's ruling against the SABC, saying it's up to the broadcaster's board to decide on the next course of action.

The deputy minister has reiterated her faith in the leadership at the SABC.