SABC changes smack of anti-African bias

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - COMMENT -

THE changes at the SABC are mo­ti­vated by po­lit­i­cal con­sid­er­a­tions and an anti-African bias that knows no bounds.

Why was Sak­ina Kamwendo re­moved from a re­ward­ing three-hour cur­rent af­fairs ra­dio show and Me­dia Mon­i­tor tele­vi­sion show? She was re­placed with an in­com­pe­tent white male, Stephen Grootes.

Kamwendo is now pre­sent­ing an hour-long show be­tween mid­day and 1pm. She was re­moved be­cause she is one of very few, if not the only, ob­jec­tive pre­sen­ters this coun­try has ever pro­duced.

The last straw was when she showed Robert Sobukwe’s pic­ture on Me­dia Mon­i­tor af­ter March 21 this year and asked if the PAC wasn’t jus­ti­fied to ques­tion the re­nam­ing of Sharpeville Day to Hu­man Rights Day. It was for the first time that I saw Sobukwe’s pic­ture on SABC tele­vi­sion. She did ra­dio shows on Sobukwe, Zepha­nia Mothopeng and Jafta Masemola, some­thing that was un­heard of be­fore she pre­sented from 6am to 9am.

She crossed paths with the cur­rent com­mu­ni­ca­tions min­is­ter and party hack Nomvula Mokonyane sev­eral times dur­ing in­ter­views with her on cor­rup­tion at her for­mer min­istry, which in­censed Mokonyane in­tensely.

The SABC hasn’t ex­plained why they re­moved Kamwendo half­way through the last hour of her last morn­ing show. The flimsy ex­pla­na­tion by head of SABC ra­dio Nada Wot­shela dur­ing an in­ter­view with Pe­ter Ndoro is un­ac­cept­able be­cause Wot­shela said, “I think she was re­moved be­cause she moved away from her script.”

This is spec­u­la­tive and there­fore not of­fi­cial. Even if it were of­fi­cial, it’s un­ac­cept­able, since Kamwendo was telling us lis­ten­ers that she didn’t agree with the chang­ing of the new for­mat of the show she was re­quested to present and that man­age­ment would ex­plain to us, the lis­ten­ers.

Man­age­ment hasn’t ex­plained to us af­ter more than a month. Why was Elvis Presslin re­moved from the week­end cur­rent af­fairs show and re­placed with Michelle Con­stant?

Why was Tsepiso Mak­wetla re­moved from the af­ter­noon cur­rent af­fairs shows and moved to the 5am to 6am show? Why was Richard Mwamba, who pre­sented African mu­sic, re­moved and re­placed with Rowena Baird? Richard Mwamba is the best African mu­sic pre­sen­ter. Why was he re­moved?

Why was Mandla Shongwe re­moved when he gave us im­por­tant up­dates prior to Kamwendo’s show?

These changes don’t make sense at all and we are aware the unions rep­re­sent­ing SABC work­ers are also not happy be­cause they were not con­sulted about these changes as well as about 31 em­ploy­ees who were fired.

The unions are also un­happy about the com­mer­cial­i­sa­tion of the public broad­caster. Need the SABC ap­pa­ratchiks be re­minded from time to time that they are a public broad­caster? There is some­thing very wrong go­ing on at the SABC.

Sak­ina Kamwendo

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