The department of communications on Tuesday confirmed that the SABC will from now on need to submit formal requests for all international trips to minister Faith Muthambi — but the public broadcaster is not the only entity required to do so.
Earlier it was reported that a letter, which News24 has in its possession, stated that staff must motivate why the trips must be undertaken, and submit a formal report to the minister within seven days of their return.
“The SABC is now required to submit formal requests for all international trips to the minister for approval effective immediately,” the letter stated.
Muthambi’s spokesman Mish Molakeng confirmed that the letter was real and also that other organisations will have to abide by the new rules.
“The ministry of communications has written to all entities that fall within the communications portfolio requesting them to adhere to the cost containment measures adopted by government relating to overseas trips,” Molakeng said.
Apart from the SABC, the letter was also sent to Brand South Africa, communications regulator Icasa, the Media Diversity & Development Agency and the Film & Publication Board.
“It is mischievous to insinuate that the ministry of communications is usurping the powers and responsibilities of these entities, or that this letter was only directed at the SABC,” Molakeng added.
According to the department, the letter was sent out to ensure these organisations are mindful of cost implications and the size of delegations when international trips are considered.