Communications minister Siphiwe Nyanda has dismissed claims by the Democratic Alliance that the proposed Public Service Broadcasting Bill will grant him unprecedented power over the SA Broadcasting Corporation.
“Not only are these claims baseless and unfounded, they also have the potential to mislead the people of this country,” he said in a statement on Tuesday.
On Monday, the DA said the proposed legislation sought “to make the minister — rather than parliament and the SABC board — the accountability authority of the broadcaster by conferring upon him wide-ranging powers to interfere in the functioning of the SABC”.
In a separate statement on Tuesday, the party also criticised the bill’s proposed 1% levy on taxpayers to fund the cash-strapped national broadcaster. “The proposal of a 1% tax levy to fund the SABC is both unnecessary and unrealistic,” it said.
Nyanda on Tuesday said he had full confidence in the SABC’s board of directors and its executive management’s ability “to steer the crucial national asset towards the right direction and take it to greater heights”.
He also rejected the DA’s claim that the proposed one percent tax was unconstitutional. “I wish to place it on record that this issue has been raised with national treasury to inform … minister of finance [Pravin Gordhan] about the draft bill and its implications to his department,” he said.
The DA said on Tuesday that national treasury had “made it clear in November 2009 that it had not been consulted over the proposal”.
The controversial bill was gazetted late last year. — Sapa