The SOS Support Public Broadcasting Coalition (SOS), Media Monitoring Africa (MMA), and the South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) acknowledge the legal opinion provided by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Communications and Digital Technologies regarding the SABC Bill. We appreciate the Committee’s effort to seek legal advice on the viability of processing the SABC Bill and note the deferral of deliberations to the next Parliamentary administration due to insufficient time for public hearings.

However, we express concern over the legal opinion’s failure to directly address the constitutionality of the SABC Bill. Many of the submissions received, including ours, expressed concerns about the constitutionality of the Bill. SOS, MMA, and SANEF’s joint submission called for the withdrawal of the Bill on the basis of many unconstitutional provisions contained within the Bill. Our call was echoed by etv and ICASA. This is particularly concerning given that the Committee specifically requested that the opinion give a view on the constitutional issues raised by the various submissions and opine as to whether or not the Bill would withstand constitutional scrutiny as is. 

Even though we are relieved that the Bill will not be rushed through before the elections, the lack of a definitive stance on the constitutionality of the Bill in the legal opinion raises concerns, particularly in light of the many unconstitutional and other problematic aspects that have been raised by submitting organisations.

The legal opinion at paragraph 13 (k) states that “the Committee may also recommend approval or rejection of the Bill or present with its report an amended Bill or a redraft of the Bill, provided that in the case of a redraft the subject of the Bill has not been extended without the permission of the National Assembly…”. We firmly believe that the Bill is deeply flawed, to the extent that attempting to amend it during the Parliamentary process would be impractical. We strongly urge the Committee to reject the Bill and insist on its withdrawal until the Department can craft a new version that aligns with constitutional standards.

SOS, MMA, and SANEF reiterate their call that the Bill must be withdrawn and hope the new Committee will take the necessary steps to withdraw the Bill and send it back to the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies (DCDT) in order to address its various flaws that make it impossible for the Bill to withstand constitutional scrutiny.

For more information contact: 

Uyanda Siyotula (SOS National Coordinator)

060 691 2462

William Bird (MMA Director)  

082 887 1370

Reggy Moalusi (SANEF Executive Director) 

071 682 3695

The following organisations have endorsed this statement and the call for the withdrawal of the SABC Bill:

International Labour Research and Information Group (ILRIG)

People’s Media Consortium (PMC)

Bench Marks Foundation

Defend Our Democracy

The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA)

Public Affairs Research Institute (PARI)


Youth Must Rise

Ahmed Kathrada Foundation

All Nations Community Centre

My Vote Counts

Dear South Africa 

The Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation


Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS)

Project YouthSA

South African Screen Federation (SASFED)

Campaign for Free Expression (CFE)

Workers World Media Productions (WWMP)

Cape Town TV

Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI)

South African National Editors Forum (SANEF)

Media Monitoring Africa (MMA)

Right2Know Campaign

Institute for the Advancement of Journalism (IAJ)

Independent Producers Organisation (IPO)