The Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) has now thrown its not
inconsiderable weight against the SABC as the latest fracas about the
broadcaster's role seems to gather steam, writes Jeremy Gordin in The Sunday Independent.


Addressing the inaugural national conference of the Creative Workers' Union of South Africa (Cwusa) on Saturday, Cosatu secretary-general Zwelinzima Vavi said: "The SABC is showing clear signs of returning to its previous role as a broadcaster for the state, not the public.

"Increasingly our government and the SABC talk about controlling and limiting what the public broadcaster can or should convey to our people."

Vavi said it had become clear that one of the biggest threats facing the nation was "the unwillingness of the state to accept criticism and support independent culture."

Vavi made the remarks at the Johannesburg metropolitan centre in Braamfontein a day after it was announced that Jacques Pauw, an award-winning, veteran investigative journalist, had resigned from the SABC.

Pauw, who headed up the SABC's well-known Special Assignment team, said he had quit because he had lost confidence in the organisation's leadership. He cited the SABC's withdrawal from the SA National Editors' Forum (Sanef) as the last straw.

Several internal "editors" at the SABC, who did not want to be named, have told Weekend Argus they had raised their concern "in no uncertain terms" with Dali Mpofu, SABC group chief executive officer and also its editor-in-chief, over his decision to withdraw from Sanef.

"The decision may have been correct or incorrect. But what we wanted to know from Mpofu was why he had consulted his board on the issue – but not us," said one of the editors.

The brouhaha has followed in the wake of Mpofu's letter to Jovial Rantao, Sanef chairperson and also editor of The Sunday Independent, in which Mpofu charged that the media had behaved shamefully in the way they handled their reporting of the theft conviction and alleged propensity for alcoholic beverages of Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, the minister of health.

Click here to read the full report, posted on iol.co.za.