THE SABC said yesterday it had accepted the resignation of news anchor
John Perlman
“with regret” while the Congress of South African Trade
Unions (Cosatu) said Perlman’s departure was an indication of a grave
crisis at the public broadcaster, writes Ernest Mabuza in Business Day.

Although the corporation did not mention reasons for Perlman’s resignation, it is believed to be related to the controversy over the blacklisting of certain commentators whom SABC journalists were not allowed to interview on air.

“After nine exciting and fulfilling years presenting AM Live, I have decided to move on in pursuit of new challenges,” Perlman said in a statement.

Perlman confronted SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago on air in June during the After Eight Debate programme on SAfm’s AM Live radio programme. He told Kganyago that the SABC had banned commentators whose views it did not want to air.

A commission ordered by SABC CE Dali Mpofu to investigate the charges found it was true the SABC staff were instructed to exclude certain commentators from commenting on issues.

Banned commentators included Business Day’s political editor Karima Brown and political analyst Aubrey Matshiqi.

Cosatu said it was finalising arrangements for a top-level meeting to raise the issue of the blacklisting and to discuss the atmosphere of fear in the SABC newsrooms, which the commission found was not conducive to journalistic independence.

Democratic Alliance communication spokeswoman Dene Smuts said the commission found that individuals had been excluded as commentators for reasons that were indefensible, and this narrowed the range of views available to South Africans.

“This goes to the heart of the function of Independent Communications Authority of SA as custodian of our right to receive a diversity of views over the airwaves.”

Click here to read the full report, posted on Business Day's website.