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Assessing and promoting civil and minority rights in South Africa.

[Source: Mail & Guardian by Beauregard Tromp and Phillip de Wet.]

In a last-ditch bid to highlight their grievances, broadcast journalists are gambling with their jobs.

Journalists at the SABC this week took to the streets and social media to protest against management’s interference with news coverage because, their peers say, getting the public on their side is seen as their very last resort.

The public broadcaster teetered on the edge of full-blown rebellion – but seemed to pull back from it – earlier this week after acting chief executive and head of news Jimi Matthews resigned, saying the “prevailing, corrosive atmosphere has impacted negatively on my moral judgment”.

Other SABC managers denied there was any trouble and, after publishing his resignation letter, Matthews remained silent despite being heavily criticised by both the ANC and Communications Minister Faith Muthambi, among others.

The SABC staffers at the centre of the storm said Matthews was just one more individual who had abandoned them, as had all the mechanisms of democracy. “Even if he had his Damascus moment, now that he’s on the outside, why isn’t he using his voice?” asked one staffer.

The same employee said the parliamentary oversight committee that theoretically holds ultimate authority over the SABC “collapsed a long time ago”.

An SABC journalist said even the public protector – who had managed to bring President Jacob Zuma to account for the Nkandla spending – had proved powerless when it came to the SABC.

“Thuli [Madonsela] said Hlaudi [Motsoeneng, chief operating officer] had to go. He’s still here. She can’t stop him. The president can’t stop him. You want us to stand up to him?”

Continue reading the article here.

South Africa at a Glance
58 780 000 (mid 2018 estimate)
4.5% y/y in June 2019 (CPI) & +5.8 y/y in June 2019 (PPI)
-3.2% q/q (1st quarter of 2019)
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