Embattled SABC has lost the plot

Image: Waldo Swiegers

Dangerous, ridiculous, unacceptable and unconstitutional...

These are some of the words used by labour and freedom of expression groups to describe SABC's laughable move to get spooks to spy on its own employees. We fully support these groups.

According to the minutes of the board meeting seen by our sister publication, the Sunday Times, the proposal was made by SABC board member, Mary Papayya.

To say Papayya's decision is a conflict of interest would be an understatement.

Papayya is a former journalist and current acting chair of the media freedom committee of the South African National Editors' Forum, the very same organisation that fights for media freedom and freedom of expression. Surely Papayya should know better.

The public broadcaster wants the State Security Agency (SSA) to track down employees who leak information.

The SABC board resolved at a special meeting last month that the services of the SSA should be enlisted to "manage leaks".

What is the SABC really trying to hide from the public and the media? Can it go to these lengths to hide its wrongdoings?

We are totally against this ludicrous move by the public broadcaster, which has more pressing problems to attend to than to spy on its staff.

We would be singing a different tune if the SABC were to announce calculated moves to solve its financial woes that have been piling up.

There seems to be no foreseeable conclusion by the SABC at addressing its financial troubles.

Communications minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams should be seen to be doing something to deal with the troubles at the national broadcaster. It can't only be about bailouts.

Employees at the SABC deserve much better than to go through this humiliation process.

The SABC can't be allowed to do as it pleases with its own employees.

SABC board chairperson Bongumusa Makhathini, who is said to have been mandated to enlist the services of the SSA to this regard, should stop this nonsense now. SABC employees deserve much better.