The SABC office in Auckland Park, Johannesburg.  Picture: SUNDAY TIMES
The SABC office in Auckland Park, Johannesburg. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

THE South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) will not act on Die Afrikanerbond’s "complaints regarding censorship‚ dismissal of journalists and mismanagement" at the SABC.

The commission said it was "closing its file" on the matter‚ but the public broadcaster would remain on the commission’s radar.

The commission’s Gail Smith said on Monday that Die Afrikanerbond’s chief secretary‚ Jan Bosman‚ had submitted a complaint on June 29, which "detailed allegations of an unfair editorial policy at the SABC‚ as well as political interference in the management of the SABC".

Smith said the commission "has been closely monitoring with concern developments around recent allegations relating to mismanagement‚ poor corporate governance‚ questionable editorial decisions and unfair labour practices taking place at the public broadcaster‚ the SABC".

"In this regard‚ the commission unequivocally confirms the need for commitment to freedom of expression and the right of access to information‚ both of which are human rights enshrined in our Constitution and which underpin our democracy‚" she said.

However‚ as these issues were currently being dealt with through other channels — the public protector‚ the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa)‚ the Labour Court and the High Court — "the commission is unable to investigate" them.

The commission also noted that these channels were "best placed to hear such cases and provide appropriate relief in line with their particular mandates".

Icasa recently ruled that the SABC’s policy of banning footage of violent protests was illegal‚ while the Labour Court ruled the dismissals of eight journalists who voiced their opposition to it was also unlawful.

Smith‚ however‚ added that the "commission strongly urges the SABC board and COO (chief operating officer) to closely consider its leadership role in advocating for and (the) promotion of the rights of people in SA to receive information and the rights to expression".

The commission’s letter to Bosman advised him that it would "close its file in this matter"‚ but added that it would "as done to date ... continue to closely monitor the situation at the SABC".

It also told Bosman that the commission would "intervene to uphold the rights in the bill of rights ... should the need arise".

TMG Digital