The Democratic Alliance has accused President Ramaphosa of purposefully stalling on making SABC appointments, so that the ruling party could infringe on the broadcaster’s editorial independence.
In a media statement released on Tuesday, 9 April 2019, the Democratic Alliance (DA) accused President Cyril Ramaphosa of “kowtowing to [Ace] Magashule faction on SABC board appointments.”
“It has been 21 days since the National Assembly approved candidates to fill vacancies on the SABC board and President Cyril Ramaphosa is yet to formally appoint the board members as he is required to do by the Broadcasting Act,” the statement read.
On 19 March 2019, the National Assembly approved the Communications Committee report which recommended eight names of candidates to serve on the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) Board. The ball now lies solely in President Ramaphosa’s court to approve the recommended candidates.
In the statement, DA’s Shadow Minister of Communications Phumzile Van Damme accused the president of stalling in making the appointments after he had written to the Speaker of Parliament in December 2018, indicating the urgency of filling the positions. Van Damme accused the president of being subservient to ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule’s alleged faction, which is allegedly against the vacancies being filled.
“The Democratic Alliance (DA) has been reliably informed that ANC Secretary General, Ace Magashule’s faction is fighting against the appointment of National Assembly approved candidates to fill the [eight] vacancies on the SABC board to keep the board inquorate and to allow the ANC to infringe on the SABC’s editorial independence.
“From the beginning, the Magashule faction did not want the vacancies to be filled and preferred for the board to be dissolved and an interim board appointed which would be at Luthuli House’s beck and call for the election season.”
The DA also highlighted a statement that was made by the secretary-general in March, saying “It is amazing because our friends throughout the world are asking us a question: how are you governing? Why do you call yourself the governing alliance when you are not in charge of the public broadcaster?”
The opposition party even accused the president of not being in charge of the ruling party, claiming that, instead, Magashule was the one steering the ship.
“It’s clear that Ramaphosa is not in charge of the ANC. As indicated in media reports this weekend, Magashule is firmly in control of the ANC and is consolidating the fight-back campaign against President Ramaphosa.”