Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams. Picture: SIYABULELA DUDA
Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams. Picture: SIYABULELA DUDA

The ANC might not have Hlaudi Motsoeneng to enforce its craven bidding at the SABC any more, but at least it can count on communications minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams. Hopefully, that statement won’t be true for much longer.

Ndabeni-Abrahams sought to block an SABC reporter from covering a protest at Mount Frere during a speech last week by ANC treasurer Paul Mashatile.

She said the broadcaster, which ultimately falls under her political authority, should not give coverage to those who are "out of order".

Though she apologised, this wasn’t an isolated incident. Critically, she also interfered with the SABC board, which led to it halting its retrenchment of 2,000 staff — an exercise seen as vital to saving the cash-strapped broadcaster.

Unfortunately, Ndabeni-Abrahams isn’t an exception.

Rather, she reflects a disturbing inclination in the ruling party towards controlling the message rather than fixing the underlying problem

SA doesn’t have a great track record with communications ministers. In a few short months, Ndabeni-Abrahams hasn’t shown she’s any different. Her impulse for censorship is a poor characteristic for any government leader, but for someone whose role is to regulate the media it’s unforgivable.