The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa), on behalf of its 320 000 members applauds the public broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), on the successful launch of its 24 hour news channel available on Digital Satellite Television (Dstv).
The launch of the 24hr news channel is a befitting tribute to the departed struggle stalwarts that died fighting for media freedom and a democratic South Africa, such as Ruth First, Govan Mbeki, Bessie Head, Edwin Mofutsanyana, Nat Nakasa, Alex la Guma and countless others.
The SABC over the past 19 years has been transformed from being a mouthpiece or propaganda machinery of the past racist National Party (NP) government. The SABC has not veered from its public mandate of playing a critical role in shaping opinions and building societal values, including the moral fibre of our society, socio-economic transformation and building of united, non-sexist, non-racial, democratic and patriotic society.
Although the 24hr channel will mainly cater for the middle class and the rich, that have privileges and enjoy access to Dstv. We view the 24hr channel as a building block towards making sure that SABC meets its public mandate of being a voice for all South Africans. We trust that the 24hr channel will be an activist channel, by expressing the views and interests of poor people, women, youth, workers, people with disabilities, people in rural areas, and other marginalized sections of society. The 24hr channel should bury false market indicators, previously used by the SABC, that say nothing about poverty indicators, development and service delivery indicators, inequality indicators, the gender impact of the economy, retrenchments, job creation, the impact of the social wage on the economy, the impact of investment strike by South African private capital on the economy.
The 24hr news channel provides the SABC with enough platforms towards redress of the exclusion and marginalization of groups and interests from access to the SABC as a public broadcaster. This also allows the SABC to contribute to the media diversification by ensuring that previously marginalized interests and sectors have affordable access to a range of views and information fully reflective of our society.
The 24hr news channel should belong to the working masses and ordinary South Africans, and should reflect the society it reports about. It should not pretend to be above the class, race and gender contestations. It should be at the centre of our transformative agenda, as we seek to resolve the many challenges we inherited from apartheid.
Furthermore, we also call on the Minister of Communications, comrade Yunis Carrim, to move with speed in implementing the ANC’s 52nd National Conference resolution for increased funding of the SABC, as opposed to the SABC relying heavily on the power of the markets.
We at Numsa, ultimately, will be carefully watching this channel to see what class messages about South Africa will dominate: working class or the rich ruling class?
Tel: 0116891702 (dir)