Minister Dlodlo must explain R3bn SABC bailout to Parliament

Note to Editor: Please find attached a soundbite by the DA Shadow Minister of Communications, Phumzile Van Damme MP. 
We now have confirmation of the amount of the government bailout the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has applied for.
In a presentation to the Standing Committee on Finance, National Treasury revealed that a “R3 billion [guarantee] is being considered” for the SABC.
It is seriously disappointing that Parliament, and indeed, the public had to find out about the amount of the SABC’s requested bailout in a roundabout manner.
The DA has on several occasions requested that the Minister of Communications, Ayanda Dlodlo, make the SABC’s financial requirements public and consult Parliament on the proposed bailout.
However, she refused, stating that the amount does not matter.
It is no secret that the SABC is currently facing immense financial upheaval due to the destructive decision making by its former executives and board.
Whilst the Committee was recently informed by the SABC interim Board that there has been an improvement in the public broadcaster’s finances, R3 billion is an astonishing amount of money.
Parliament’s Communications Committee should have been consulted in the interest of good governance and transparency especially given the financial stress at the SABC.
The DA will now write to the Chairperson of the Communications Committee, Humphrey Maxegwana, to request that the Minister appear before the Committee when Parliament reconvenes to give a briefing on the SABC’s finances, as well give full details about the requested financial assistance.
It is time for the Minister to come clean to the Committee and the public as the DA will no longer tolerate her obstruction of Parliamentary oversight.

Mbalula must update the nation on SAPS investigation about SABC 8 attacks

The DA will write to the Chairperson of the Communications Portfolio Committee Humphrey Maxegwana to request that the Police Minister Fikile Mbalula be summoned to Parliament to provide an update on SAPS’s investigations of attacks against the SABC 8.
It has been almost a year since the SABC 8 reported death threats, assaults, house break-ins, and many other sinister intimidation tactics following their legal action against the subverting of press freedom at the SABC by Hlaudi Motsoeneng and his acolytes mid last year. It is outrageous that to-date, not a single person has been arrested, or held accountable for these attacks.
The untimely and tragic death of RSG Senior Producer and one of the SABC 8, Suna Venter from “Broken Heart Syndrome” – believed to be caused by trauma and prolonged periods of unnatural stress – demands that justice be served. Those responsible for the utter terror she was subjected to over the past year must be held accountable and brought to book.
It cannot be that a young woman is abducted, tied to a tree and the grass around her set alight; shot in the face, and repeatedly terrorised, and no one is held accountable. Justice must be served for Suna and the rest of the SABC 8.
Mbalula must therefore appear before Parliament and provide an update of SAPS’s investigations about the cowardly attacks on our journalists.
In particular, he must inform the nation about whether former SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng, former SABC CEO James Aguma and former Communications Minister Faith Muthambi were ever questioned about the attacks and threats, and if not, order that this happen immediately.
It is up to Parliament to play its role in protecting the constitutional right to press freedom and protect journalists from intimidation. Parliament’s silence and lack of action will be complicity.
The media play an important role keeping the South African people informed and in a time where captured forces propagate misleading rhetoric, journalists who dare speak the truth to power must be protected more than ever.