Reviewed by Sikelelwa Mfundisi
Fani Mahuntsi, Gallo Images
State broadcaster, the SABC, has faced criticism from the EFF for holding part of its meeting with the Portfolio Committee on Communications behind closed doors. Wednesday’s meeting was intended to discuss the SABC’s financial situation and how money from previous bailouts was used.
According to the EFF, the SABC suggested holding a semi-closed meeting with the committee to discuss the turnaround plan for the SABC. This request was made due to the perceived commercial sensitivity of the turnaround strategy. EFF, however, rejects this proposal as disrespectful to South Africans, who own the SABC. With the exception of South African residents, they maintain that no discussion concerning the finances or prospects of a public body should ever take place behind closed doors.
It emphasizes the SABC’s status as a publicly funded organization that accounts to taxpayers rather than a private company, so it ought to play by the same rules as its private counterparts.
Cedric Frolick, the chair of chairs of Parliament, declined the request for an explanation of the decision to adjourn a section of the meeting in response to the Parliamentary Press Gallery Association (PGA) concerns. As a taxpayer-funded public broadcaster such as the SABC, Natasha Mazzone stressed the importance of accountability and openness. Without valid and justifiable grounds, private sessions compromise parliamentary accountability and transparency in an open and democratic society.
Ultimately, the EFF’s opposition to the SABC’s private meeting highlights the importance of accountability and transparency in public institutions. Whether some conversations should take place in private or in public is still very important for maintaining public confidence and ensuring public organizations fulfil their constitutional obligations.
Daniel Pn. (2023). How to Write an Article Review: Full Guide with Examples | EssayPro. [online] essaypro.com. Available at: https://essaypro.com/blog/article-review [10 Oct. 2023].
Felix, J. (2023). SABC’s request for closed parliamentary meeting raises ire of EFF, DA, media. [online] News24. Available at: https://www.news24.com/news24/politics/parliament/sabcs-request-for-closed-parliamentary-meeting-raises-ire-of-eff-da-media-20231010 [10 Oct. 2023].