Retired executive director of the Press Council of SA Joe Thloloe said that while a commission of inquiry looking into editorial interference at the SABC found that while there was no link between Luthuli House and the public broadcaster, “[the] spectre of the ANC hovered over the newsroom”.
The commission, chaired by Thloloe, looked into political and editorial interference at the troubled state broadcaster.
He presented the commission’s report at the broadcaster’s headquarters in Auckland Park, Johannesburg, on Monday.
During his briefing, Thloloe said the commission found that SABC staff were not only angry with enforcers, but also with each other. He added that the SABC needed healing from the “scourge of enforcers” and to attend to team building, focusing on the common good.
In a statement issued on Monday, the SABC said the report detailed findings with respect to a very painful period in the history of the public broadcaster.
SABC board chairperson Bongumusa Makhathini said: “The SABC board is deeply concerned about the findings on individual employees named in the report as being implicated in editorial interference. It further notes the finding of the report that the SABC ‘suffered from the capricious use of authority and power to terrorise staff and to deflect the corporation from its mandate and its editorial policies’.”
He said that the public broadcaster would not tolerate any interference in its editorial independence.
“The SABC commits to taking urgent disciplinary action against those implicated, in terms of the SABC’s disciplinary code and policies,” Makhathini said.
While the editorial interference inquiry was in progress, another also probed sexual harassment allegations in the workplace.
Acting group CEO Nomsa Philiso had said the inquiries followed recommendations by the SABC ad hoc committee that editorial interference and unlawful conduct be dealt with.
The sexual harassment inquiry found that the state broadcaster did not take sexual harassment seriously and needed to develop a culture that embraced the enhancement of human rights and gender rights. It also found that the broadcaster was oblivious to infringements of its sexual harassment policies.