THE ANC is sticking to the statement given by its communications subcommittee head, Jackson Mthembu, over developments at the SABC, and is calling on all its structures not to make further comments on the matter.

Secretary-general Gwede Mantashe on Tuesday said those whose statements were different from the party’s position were not speaking for the organisation.

Last week, the chairperson of Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association, Kebby Maphatsoe, who is also Deputy Defence Minister, made statements in support of the SABC and its chief operating officer, Hlaudi Motsoeneng. This was despite Mthembu criticising the public broadcaster for its decision to ban footage of violent protests.

“The NWC (national working committee) reaffirmed the correctness of the communications subcommittee position against any form of certain censorship being imposed at the SABC,” said Mantashe, at a media briefing in Johannesburg following a meeting of the ANC’s national working committee.

“The media charter of the ANC affirms the fundamental principles that the ANC will create an open society characterised by the free flow of information and culture of open debate within the context of a democratic Constitution and a Bill of Rights.”

Mantashe said the ANC welcomed the Independent Communications Authority of SA’s (Icasa) order that the SABC withdraw its decision to ban footage of protests.

On Monday Icasa ordered the SABC to withdraw its controversial editorial decision and within seven days write to the authority stating that it had done so.

However, SABC chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng said the public broadcaster would not allow anyone to dictate to it how it operates. The SABC would take the matter to court for review.

Mantashe said the statement that no one can dictate to the SABC what to do was wrong as it was a public broadcaster, which fell under the Parliament’s communications portfolio.

“Matters relating to the corporate governance challenges in the institution and the high turnover of CEOs among others, will be receiving urgent attention,” he said.

“The ANC parliamentary caucus is also expected to give the SABC the requisite attention.”