The Communications Workers’ Union (CWU) is holding its national congress in Durban this week. Like Numsa and Cosatu, the CWU was outraged by the content of Judge Neels Claassen’s judgment in which he found that the SABC had manipulated the news while blacklisting commentators critical of former president, Thabo Mbeki.
Cosatu president, Sidumo Dlamini, addressing unionists, said the battle to “defend the image of the SABC as a public broadcaster when there was rampant abuse of state institutions to advance factional political and business interests” was ongoing.
But, he added, the SABC case showed that the media couldn’t be left to transform itself. Interestingly, the ANC has NEVER mentioned that the SABC should be part of tribunal, focusing on its transformation agenda and call for a media appeals tribunal almost entirely on the broadsheet print media.
“One of the important lessons that can be derived from what I call the Snuki Judgment is that the biggest mistake we can make now is to leave the task of transforming the South African media to the media itself. This is a struggle that every CWU cadre working in the media industry must consciously undertake.
“This judgment is a lesson to those who still think that SABC can be turned into their instrument to fight political battles and their private entity to generate profits for themselves,” Dlamini said.
“When there was an attempt to change the SABC into an instrument that served a few political masters this union did not keep quite (sic). Surely, like all of us comrades you must have shouted on top of your voices when you heard the high court judge confirming that indeed there was extreme political interference and political manipulation in the SABC newsroom,” he added.
Dlamini said the Claassen judgment was a “lesson to those who still think that SABC can be turned into their instrument to fight political battles and their private entity to generate profits for themselves”.
He said Cosatu and the CWU were well aware of the extent of corruption at the SABC and were watching and waiting to see whether any action will be taken against ‘the culprits’.
Like most South Africans, Dlamini and the unions “want our SABC to become an effective public broadcaster that can help to inform and to entertain the public”.