Inquiry into SABC finds interference came from the top

The new management is vowing to take action against those found to have done wrong. It also says it will ensure a safe environment for an independent newsroom. Courtesy #DStv403

JOHANNESBURG - Former Communications Minister, Faith Muthambi's name has come up with regard to editorial interference at the SABC.

The inquiry also implicated a few senior members of the public broadcaster.

Veteran Journalist, Joe Thloloe, released the report in Auckland Park on Monday morning.

“There are several instances where minister Faith Muthambi interfered in the editorial decision making in KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, several incidences are mentioned in that report,” Thloloe said.

“The evidence shows that from the year 2012 up until the year 2017, SABC executives took instructions from people with no authority in the newsroom, for example, members of the SABC board (Ellen Tshabalala) and the Minister for Communication (Faith Muthambi). The executives thus failed to execute their duties in terms of the Editorial Policies. The Commission further found that Nothando Maseko, Sebolelo Ditlhakanyane and Nyana Molete were pivotal to the execution of instructions from Hlaudi Motsoeneng, Jimi Matthews and Simon Tebele. They succumbed because of threats of dismissal from their immediate superiors,” the inquiry said in its findings.

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The inquiry also found that the “organisation [was] crippled by pain, anger and fear; by frustration, anxiety and apathy; and by inattentiveness, detachment and helplessness.”

The commission was set up in May last year and tasked to look into political and editorial interference at the troubled public broadcaster.

This followed a report from the public protector, a parliamentary inquiry and complaints from civil society.

The SABC says it will take disciplinary action against those implicated in editorial interference.

Former Communications Minister, Faith Muthambi, and former SABC chairperson, Ellen Tshabalala, have been fingered in meddling with the broadcaster's editorial content. Courtesy #DStv403