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Parly committee raises concerns over Broadcast Act Amendment Bill

Minister Faith Muthambi, during her evidence to the inquiry in December, argued that the bill be speedily processed.

FILE: The SABC. Picture: Supplied

CAPE TOWN – Parliament’s inquiry into the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) board has raised its concerns about the Broadcast Act Amendment Bill.

Members Parliament (MPs) say that the bill takes away from Parliament the power to recommend the hiring or firing of board members and gives it to the Minister of Communications.

Minister Faith Muthambi, during her evidence to the inquiry in December, argued that the bill be speedily processed.

The ad hoc committee conducting the inquiry is working on its draft report.

MPs are worried that the Broadcast Act Amendment Bill – if passed – will allow for SABC board members to be hired or fired by President Jacob Zuma on the recommendation of Communications Minister Muthambi and not Parliament.

African National Congress MP Makhosi Khoza’s argued strongly for the committee’s report to highlight this concern.

“Otherwise as this committee we’ll be guilty of having given the minister the blanket to do as she wishes. We’ve seen what has happened with this interference.”

Democratic Alliance MP Phumzile van Damme’s told MPs that while the Broadcast Act Amendment Bill is before Parliament, the communications committee has yet to discuss it.

The committee also wants to make it clear that the Broadcasting Act is the primary law governing the SABC, and not the Companies Act.

Minister Muthambi holds the opposite view, and relied on the Companies Act when three former board members were axed.

WATCH LIVE: SABC board inquiry deliberates working document

(Edited by Masechaba Sefularo)