Lesson of the SABC

ONE can almost pick up a sense of relief from the SABC board members who have announced their resignations. Theirs is a tale of woe and of being left to their own devices.

ONE can almost pick up a sense of relief from the SABC board members who have announced their resignations. Theirs is a tale of woe and of being left to their own devices.

Former chairperson Kanyi Mkonza has decried the nonchalance of the political bosses. Another board member, Andile Mbeki, asked members of Parliament to "please dissolve us". Yet another board member, Rob Nicholson, was more colourful in his analysis of the problems, saying "the board got a motor car that was rusting and its wheels were wobbling. And we drove it off the cliff".

Remarkably, Mkonza, Mbeki and Nicholson have not only taken responsibility for their failures but they have identified what they regard as co-drivers of the car that ended down the cliff.

They have pointed squarely at the politicians' lack of leadership for the failure of the public broadcaster.

We believe they have a point.

It is not possible that the SABC, as a public broadcaster, would have been run down this swiftly without the state - who are the sole shareholders - noticing that the wheels were coming off. Otherwise the government would be guilty of the worse crime of sleeping on the job and not fulfilling their fiduciary duty.

The public too must ask itself how we allowed a national treasure become an ANC faction-fight political football.

But whatever we make of who is wrong and why they are so, we should not waste the experience. Let what is happening at the SABC be a lesson on how not to run a public broadcaster.

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