The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) is going ahead with
its legal challenge against President Thabo Mbeki over the appointment
of the new South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) board, writes Amy Musgrave in the Weekender.
The union federationÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s central executive committee, which meets for three days starting on Monday, will discuss the matter.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œWe will be soliciting the (committee) to support the legal challenge,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â a committee member said on Friday. Asked whether it was a foregone conclusion that Mbeki would be taken to court, the member said: ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œExactly.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
There have been behind-the-scenes efforts to avert the legal challenge, which would be embarrassing for Mbeki. The president appointed the new board despite protests from the tripartite alliance that the nomination process was flawed. The board is seen to consist of Mbeki supporters.
If the legal challenge does go ahead, it is set to widen the rift between Mbeki and those who elected African National Congress (ANC) president Jacob Zuma at the partyÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s conference in Polokwane in December.
Cosatu , which was crucial to ZumaÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s ascent to power, believes that the board represents only business interests.
Cosatu spokesman Patrick Craven said earlier this month that the board did not have a labour representative, as required by the Broadcasting Act. He also complained that the SABC was giving poor coverage to labour issues, with between 30 minutes and an hour a day dedicated to business news, while labour was usually only covered if there was a strike.