President Kgalema Motlanthe is to write to parliament this week detailing his concerns about the Broadcasting Amendment Bill amid tensions between the president and hardliners within the ANC over the delay in signing the bill into law, write Siyabonga Mkhwanazi and Sibusiso Ngalwa in The Star.

Motlanthe has come under pressure from his party and alliance partners to sign both the broadcasting bill and the two bills that will allow for the dismantling of the Scorpions and the creation of a new organised-crime-fighting unit under the police.

But while Motlanthe is expected to assent to the SA Police Service Amendment Bill and the National Prosecuting Authority Amendment Bill, he will be sending the Broadcasting Amendment Bill back to parliament.

This is because of concerns that the bill is not in line with the constitution and open to legal challenge. It currently provides for the SABC board to be axed without a proper hearing, and it is understood that this clause will require amendment by MPs.

Opposition parties had condemned the clause as unconstitutional and a recipe for legal challenge when they petitioned Motlanthe not to sign the bill into law after it was passed by parliament last year. The Democratic Alliance has welcomed Motlanthe's decision.

ANC chief whip Nyami Booi confirmed yesterday that Motlanthe had indicated that he would sign the bills relating to the Scorpions, which will pave the way for the creation of the proposed Directorate of Priority Crimes Investigation.

It is understood Motlanthe said the delays in the signing of the bills were due to challenges of translating them into the 11 official languages.

Booi said he did not know what specific concerns Motlanthe had with the broadcasting bill, but said the president had decided to refer it back to MPs to make changes. Booi met Motlanthe last week to discuss the delays in signing the legislation.

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