THERE is a great tragedy in the SABC's indecision on whether to flight the documentary on political satire, beyond the public broadcaster's inability to extricate itself from being its master's voice.
Listening to a talk show on a Gauteng radio station discussing the SABC'S decision earlier that night, I was surprised about how many of the callers were making it about cartoonist Zapiro's depiction of President Jacob Zuma, which they found offensive. There is nothing wrong with finding Zapiro offensive and disrespectful. We are all entitled to our view.
But the show the SABC cancelled was not the Zapiro show. There were other satirists and comedians. And, yes, it is quite possible that they, like Zapiro, were offensive, but until the Mail & Guardian made the bold decision to run the documentary on their website, we would never have known.
As matters are, the SABC stands accused of pandering to the whims of Chief Albert Luthuli House and the relevant wing of the Union Buildings.
It is of course possibly untrue. It is possible that the spineless souls of the SABC merely imagined that the big chiefs at Luthuli House might want them to act in a certain manner and thus proceeded unprompted.
But it is for the ANC to say so. Until they do, it is not unreasonable to think that they leaned on some people at the SABC.
What is worrisome is that all these things happen after Polokwane promised an ANC that engaged more openly instead of the previous practice of sucking up to the "big chief".
Looking at what is happening at the SABC, you could think that the people at the helm of the ANC are not the same people who want the current SABC board out and were correctly outraged by former head of news Snuki Zikalala's partisanship.
The ANC's indifference to the abuse of the SABC is not the first to suggest that whatever winds of change might have swept the country after Polokwane were meant to benefit only the ANC and not the rest of the country.
Despite allegations of a more open organisation after that conference that dumped Thabo Mbeki, ordinary members of the party are as silent against obvious wrongs as they were under Mbeki.
Just as they did when Mbeki's stance on Zimbabwe caused more harm than good, they are now happy to go along with a government that seeks to delegitimise the struggles of the people of Tibet and their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.
It is hard to believe that everyone in the ANC, except Barbara Hogan, agreed with government policy with regard to denying the Dalai Lama a visa to come to South Africa.
It is equally hard to believe that they all think that effectively banning a programme because it might offend the political sensibilities of some elites is good for our country's image as an open and democratic society.
The ANC needs to remember that they are more than just another political party. They are a ruling party whose support and legitimacy is beyond question.
They should be seen to be acting in what is in the best and long-term interests of the country, not just the party.
All of South Africa, and not only cadres of the party, deserves the dividends promised by the Polokwane conference. If this does not materialise, the current ANC leadership will not be behaving any better than those who abused state institutions to nail President Jacob Zuma by any means necessary.
It is possible that the ANC may ignore this column as rantings by a hostile media. I can live with that.
What I cannot stomach is the silence of men and women who were prepared to lay down their lives in the fight against apartheid, whose conscience is now shaped by prospects of a tender or a job.