From bureaucratic fortress to falsehood factory – the sad story of the SABC

By Alec Hogg

Around a decade back, I was invited to join the directorate of Phumulela, the JSE-listed betting business. But there was a lengthy hiatus as literally hundreds of pages about my financial and other affairs was demanded by the SA Gambling Board before I got to attend my first board meeting. The process gave me a whole new level of respect for those who serve similar directorates – “probity” required by the authorities exposes any possible skeleton.

It is hard find a deeper contrast than what passes for governance at South Africa’s national broadcaster. As the Parliamentary enquiry into the SABC exposed, nowadays pretty much anything goes at the organisation, which I remember as a bureaucratic fortress when there in the 1990s. Those days even a small purchase required a ream of approving signatures. Today, providing supporting documentation seems purely optional.

A national broadcaster is charged with telling the truth; with serving the nation by exposing myths and protecting citizens against abuse by the powerful. But when the place is run by half witted pawns, it becomes the perfect platform for the generation of falsehoods promoting vested interests who prey on the public. After the Parliamentary performance, we know where today’s SABC sits.

Picture: Twitter @ewnupdates
Picture: Twitter @ewnupdates
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