Minister of Communications on claims around the draft Public Service Broadcasting Bill
19 January 2010
The Minister of Communications rejects persistent claims by the Democratic Alliance (DA) that the proposed draft Public Service Broadcasting Bill would give him unprecedented authority over the public broadcaster.
Not only are these claims baseless and unfounded, they also have the potential to mislead the people of this country.
The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has both a board of directors and a group executive responsible for managing the public broadcaster. I have full confidence in both the board and executive management of the SABC to steer the crucial national asset towards the right direction and take it to greater heights.
I also fully understand the Constitutional imperative that prescribes and guarantees freedom of the media and I have no intention of undermining that principle by "interfering" with the day-to-day running of the public broadcaster.
I also wish to dismiss the claim by the DA that the proposed tax of not more than one percent to go towards the proposed public service broadcast fund is unconstitutional.
I wish to place it on record that this issue has been raised with National Treasury to inform the Minister of Finance about the draft bill and its implications to his department.
Other Ministers whose departments are affected by certain aspects of the draft bill would have an opportunity to comment on these issues when the draft bill is tabled in Cabinet.
My ministry would like to extend its sincere appreciation to all those who took advantage of the opportunity provided to them to participate in the process of reshaping our public broadcasting services. We are looking forward to digesting your comments and inputs to the draft Public Service Broadcasting Bill.
The comments will now be consolidated into the draft bill and be sent to Cabinet for discussion after which the draft will be sent to Parliament for further discussion and be subjected to public hearings. The public would therefore have another opportunity to give their views about the draft bill before it is passed into law.