SABC chief operating officer, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, met with an eight person delegation including representatives of workers, media and civil society. This after a protest, organised by the media, was staged outside the SABC in Auckland Park on Friday morning. More protests are scheduled for this week.
It started as a small group of journalists, holding placards and chanting slogans such as, “Down with Hlaudi”, “Proper news, not propaganda” and “We support our colleagues”.
But the group soon swelled as journalists from a range of media houses, worker unions and the general public arrived in a show of solidarity. Key members of the protest were then given a chance to speak, each echoing the sentiments of the others. This protest was about supporting the SABC employees who had been suspended, combating the SABC’s censorship and ensuring the public broadcaster acts in the public interest.
Here are what some of the key speakers had to say about the protest and why they were in attendance.
Jeremy Thorpe (worked at the SABC for 17 years):
At the same time, as the protest was going on, disciplinary hearings for six SABC journalists were taking place in the building. It was revealed that one of the disciplinary hearings was postponed while the outcome of the other remains a unknown. Some of those journalists did come outside to join the gathering including Thandeka Gqubule, Busisiwe Ntuli, Krivani Pillay and Jacques Steenkamp.
Former Cosatu general secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi, also arrived at the event and addressed the crowd. He said he was at the protest because, “SABC censorship rubbishes every sacrifice that has been made by our people whose blood is what our constitution is written on. We are here to pledge our solidarity with the workers who are being terrorised inside by the management”.
It was decided that a delegation would be formed to go inside the SABC and demand a meeting with Motsoeneng. But when the delegation arrived at the door leading into the public broadcaster they found it locked and security said they could not find the key. Vavi phoned Motsoeneng and this was the result:
Tuwani Gumani from the Media Worker’s Association of South Africa explained the situation that the workers are in at the SABC:
Eventually the key was found but then the SABC instructed that only seven members of the delegation could come inside. The 7 were chosen, went inside and the door was then locked again. Sekoetlane Jacob Phamodi from Save Our SABC Coalition, the main driver behind the protest, arrived late but was allowed inside, to bring the delegation number to eight. Phamodi explained why he helped organise the protest:
Here is a video of the protest that was provided by Joburg Today.
And here is the event in pictures, taken by Michael Bratt.
A similar protest was held in Cape Town with journalists showing their support and solidarity as well.
Follow Michael Bratt on Twitter @MichaelBratt8
Want to continue this conversation on The Media Online platforms? Comment on Twitter @MediaTMO or on our Facebook page. Send us your suggestions, comments, contributions or tip-offs via e-mail to email@example.com.