Broadcasting Amendment Bill:finalisation

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Meeting Summary

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Meeting report

The National Council of Provinces

4 November 2002

Chairperson: Ms C Nkuna (ANC, Limpopo]

Relevant Documents
Broadcasting Amendment Bill B34B-2002
NCOP amendments agreed to (see Appendix 1)
Cosatu letter to Committee on Bill (Appendix 2)

Cosatu was allowed to briefly present its concern that the Bill lacked an explicit requirement that labour and worker issues be adequately represented. It was pointed out that workers are the largest organised constituency in South Africa and programming should reflect this.

The Committee believed that if labour issues would be slotted into news/editorial programmes and did not think it necessary to treat labour as a separate target group.

The Committee accepted the Broadcasting Amendment Bill (B34B-2002) with amendments with only the DP abstain from voting on Clauses 11, 12 and 18 and opposing Clause 25.

The meeting started with Cosatu's request to make a submission to the Committee. After a short deliberation amongst the members Cosatu was allowed to present its concerns in a summarised form. Cosatu stated that it had not come prepared to make a presentation, as in their view they had requested the Committee to make a submission at a later a stage.

Ms P. Govender, speaking on behalf of Cosatu, said that labour issues should be included in Section 10(1)(e) and (g) as contained in Clause 11 of the Bill. They believed that labour should be included as a target group because of the large number of people labour represents.

However, the Committee believed that if labour issues would be slotted into news/editorial programmes and did not think it necessary to treat labour as a separate target group.

Mr L Lever DP (North -West Province) had to leave before the conclusion of the meeting but stated, on behalf of his party that on the Broadcasting Amendment Bill (B34B-2002) they abstain from voting on Clauses 11, 12 and 18. They oppose Clause 25 and the fact that the schedule delegates too much power "in the hands of one individual"

The Committee voted and the Bill was agreed to with the amendments below.

Appendix 1:
NCOP Amendments agreed to:
Clause 1
1. On page 3, in line 44, after "section" to omit "7" and to insert "8A"
2. On page 3, in line 48, after "section" to omit "7(1)" and to insert "8A(1)"
3. On page 3, in line 55, after "terms" to omit "of item 11"
4. On page 4, in line 30, after "public" to omit "broadcasting"
5. On page 4, in line 35, to omit the definition of "radio station"

Clause 6
1. On page 6, in line 53, after "perspectives" to insert "and".

Clause 18
On page 11, in line 35, to omit "isiSwati" and to substitute "siSwati".

Appendix 2:
COSATU Congress of South African Trade Unions

1 November 2002

Ms C Nkuna
Select Committee on Labour and Public Enterprises
Fax: 021- 403 2473

Dear Comrade Nkuna


COSATU has already submitted detailed comments on the above Bill to the Communications Portfolio Committee. We are aware that as a section 75 Bill, the opportunity for substantive policy engagement is relatively limited at the NCOP stage. Therefore, in this process we will be limiting our comments to what we believe are simple technical amendments that may be accommodated in the current process.

As we have already indicated in informal discussions with yourself and the Department of Communications, COSATU is deeply unhappy with the failure of the SABC, as the public broadcaster, to cater for the needs of workers and organised labour. This is especially relevant given current debates around the overall failure of the SABC's broadcasting services to reflect the needs of all major constituencies in South Africa, of which organised labour is the largest.

In our initial submission we noted that the Bill had introduced a strong emphasis on religious programming and that this called for a concurrent emphasis on labour and worker issues. Although the Communications Portfolio Committee removed the various references to "religion", it introduced a requirement for the SABC to develop religious policy under clause 6. This, in our opinion, in effect retains the requirement in relation to religious content.

We support the requirement for public participation in the development of the various SABC policies under clause 7 of the Bill, as introduced by the Portfolio Committee. Nevertheless, in the absence of an explicit requirement to ensure that labour and worker issues are adequately represented, we are unconvinced that this will ensure that our concerns are adequately addressed.

Accordingly, we are calling on the Select Committee to insert amendments to section 10(1)(e) and (g) of the Broadcasting Act in order to provide respectively for the inclusion of "labour issues" in programming and recognising "workers and organised labour" as a target group for SABC services. Proposals for redrafting are contained on p 7 of our memo (dated 16 October 2002) to the Portfolio Committee, a copy of which is attached hereto.

We request that the Select Committee give serious consideration to our proposals, which we believe had the sympathy and support of the majority party, but were not accommodated owing to limitations of time. Further, since the amendments that we are proposing are merely simple technical amendments and do not entail substantial policy areas, it will be possible to accommodate these within the current process.

We are willing to address the Select Committee on our proposals should this be required.

Thank you

Yours sincerely
Neil Coleman

cc Joe Mjwara
Department of Communications


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