Icasa: 'We don't know if SABC has complied with protest ruling'

2016-11-01 16:48 - Paul Herman, News24
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Cape Town - The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) says the SABC has not provided it with any proof that it has complied with its ruling to unban the airing of violent protests.

Icasa ruled in July that the public broadcaster was in contravention of the Broadcasting Act when it implemented an editorial policy to ban the airing of violent protests in May.

This after the High Court in Pretoria indicted the SABC on the same day from following through with its protest policy, following an application by the Helen Suzman Foundation.

Icasa acting chairperson Rubben Mohlaloga revealed in Parliament on Tuesday that the broadcaster's board has not furnished any proof that it has complied with the ruling after its initial commitment to abide by it.

The body had written many times to the SABC on the matter, and will now take "appropriate enforcement action", including going to court, he told MPs of Parliament's portfolio committee on communications.

MPs wanted to know why Icasa would go through the courts when the Icasa Act allows it to impose penalties on the broadcaster up to as much as a R1m fine.

ANC MP Mondli Gungubele said if Icasa's relationship with the SABC was challenging, it should convey it to the committee.

DA MP Phumzile van Damme said Icasa must provide Parliament with timelines of what it plans to do next.

Icasa CEO Pakamile Pongwana told the committee that the body is capable of monitoring the SABC's broadcasts, but that what was required here was substantial proof, and not just a written statement from the board.

It is therefore launching an investigation into the protest policy.

The committee meanwhile is in the process of finalising an inquiry into the SABC board before November 24 over the reappointment of former COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng in an executive position, and other management issues plaguing the broadcaster.

Read more about: sabc  |  protest  |  hlaudi ­motsoeneng