FIX THE FXI hopes that The Freedom of Expression Institute will immediately comment on the events leading to Jacques Pauw's resignation. The latter is, sadly, another casualty escaping from The SABC wreckage.
FIX THE FXI congratulates Mr Pauw for his courage and hopes that he will soon return to lead, after Snuki is sacked, The SABC's news and current affairs department.
The FXI should now state, loudly and clearly, that The ANC immediately removes its "sticky-snuki" fingers from The SABC pie. Jane Duncan should, moreover, realize that The SABC, like The FXI, is no place for political appointees, whether they be ANC activists like Zikalala, or Islamic activists like Jeenah.
"Special assignment” producer quits
by Giordano Stolley (The Citizen)
JOHANNESBURG – The head of the SABC’s Special Assignment team has resigned from the national broadcaster because he has “lost confidence” in the organisation’s leadership.
A statement released by the broadcaster on Friday morning said the organisation had accepted Jacques Pauw’s resignation.
“While the SABC acknowledges that Pauw has the right to his opinions, we however do not agree with the reasons given in his resignation letter.
“If Mr. Pauw was to retrospect on his own experiences in the newsroom and as executive producer of Special Assignment, with the type of stories they have done and are covering, it is clear that there is no justification for the reasons he has put forward.”
The statement did not provide reasons for Pauw’s resignation and Pauw himself could not be reached for comment.
The Mail&Guardian newspaper reported that it had a copy of Pauw’s resignation letter, and published extracts, one of which said: “I did not intend to resign today, but after the publication of ŠSABC boss Dali Mpofu’s letter to SanefÆ, I have no other option but to offer my resignation... I take offence against a statement that the SABC is ‘not prepared to associate with the enemies of our freedom and our people'.”
“It is clear that the SABC has deteriorated into nothing less than a state broadcaster.”
The Mail&Guardian also reported that Pauw had said in his resignation letter that it was “false to describe newspapers like the Sunday Times and Mail&Guardian as enemies of our freedom and our people.”
Mpofu recently sent a resignation letter to the national editors forum (Sanef) charging that the media had behaved “shamefully” in its reporting of Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, accused of having a drink problem and a theft conviction.
“Shame on all of you, especially those who have turned their backs on your own cultural values for 30 pieces of silver, pretending to be converted to foreign, frigid and feelingless ‘freedoms',” wrote Mpofu in his weekend letter, made public by SABC.
“We cannot remain quiet while our mothers and our democratically chosen leaders are stripped naked for the sole purpose of selling newspapers,” he added.
Mpofu’s attack infuriated Sanef, which believed such reports have been entirely justified and made comparisons with the whites-only apartheid era when SABC was little more than a propaganda tool.
SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago said no decision had been made on who would succeed Pauw. Kganyago said the SABC “found it strange” that the organisation had received a media enquiry about Pauw’s resignation a few days before Mpofu had released his letter to Sanef.
He said SABC was being asked to confirm whether Pauw had left the national broadcaster to join Telkom Media.
He said: “It look’s bizarre that ŠMpofu’s letterÆ becomes the reason for Pauw’s resignation.”
Telkom Media spokesman Chris van Zyl said he could not comment on the reasons for Pauw’s resignation.
He said that he was not aware of Pauw seeking employment at Telkom Media. “Licences are only going to be awarded next week. it would be premature (for Telkom Media) to go hiring journalists,” he said.
Telkom has said it would enter the pay television market with the creation of Telkom Media, a private company with a 41,5% black economic empowerment shareholding. The Mail & Guardian reported that it had applied to the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa for a commercial-satellite and cable-subscription broadcast licence.
Reacting to news of the resignation, the Democratic Alliance spokeswoman on communication, Dene Smuts, said the SABC had lost one of its best journalists to “bad management and an abysmal board”.
“SABC viewers will be furious that one of their favourite journalists and producers, Jacques Pauw, has resigned from the public broadcaster.
“Pauw’s programme Special Assignment was the only SABC offering considered credible by respondents in a current affairs survey commissioned privately by Manager of News and Current Affairs Snuki Zikalala.”
The Mail&Guardian reported that it had a copy of the survey, titled Qualitative Overview of Current Affairs Programmes, compiled by research firm Plus 94 in March 2007.
According to the newspaper the researchers couldn’t find anyone in the focus groups who watched the television programme In The Public Interest, the brainchild of Zikalala and SABC chief executive Dali Mpofu.
The programme assesses the media.
Smuts said, “We will no doubt suffer another round of colourful condemnation of the theft of private property from the SABC after this latest leak. But the simple fact is that the ship is already sinking, and that is the fault of its captains. Besides which, the survey says what all South Africans know. –Sapa