SABC acting chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng has proposed that journalists have a licence to practise like those in the medical and law professions, the broadcaster reported on Thursday.
Motsoeneng said journalists who acted unprofessionally should be stripped of their licences.
“You know when you are a journalist, you are a professional journalist. If you don’t have ethics and principles and you mislead on your reporting, like lawyers … if you commit any mistake they take your licence,” he was quoted as saying.
“We should do the same thing with journalists, that is what we need to do if we want to build South Africa.”
He was speaking at the annual Joburg Radio Days at Wits University in Johannesburg.
Democratic Alliance MP and spokesman on communications Gavin Davis said Motsoeneng’s remarks were “not the considered opinions of a responsible and independent public broadcasting professional”.
“They are the senseless ramblings of a man hell-bent on presenting Jacob Zuma’s ANC in a positive light amid the litany of corruption scandals that dog his presidency,” Davis said.
“Motsoeneng’s comments explain why he is still in his job some 45 days after the public protector’s deadline to have him removed from office. He is being protected because, as a loyal cadre, he is doing what he has been deployed to do.”
In February, public protector Thuli Madonsela released a report “When governance and ethics fail” that found Motsoeneng’s appointment irregular. Among other things, his salary increased from R1,5m to R2,4m in one year.
She found he misrepresented his qualifications, that he passed matric, to the SABC, and recommended he be replaced.
“There is no reason for Motsoeneng to still be at the SABC, and every reason to relieve him of his duties,” said Davis. “The public protector found that he had lied about his qualifications and that he awarded himself irregular pay increases up to R2,4m. Under his tenure, the SABC has hit rock bottom, earning a disclaimer of opinion from the auditor-general.” — (c) 2014 NewsCentral Media, with Sapa