The Democratic Alliance (DA) has written to the Communications Minister Siphiwe Nyanda to object to a proposed law that aims to levy a 1% personal income tax on working South Africans to fund the SABC.
Party Member of Parliament (MP) Lindiwe Mazibuko said that the Public Service Broadcasting Bill, which was gazetted by the Department of Communications late last year, would confer wide-ranging powers to Nyanda in the functioning of the SABC.
"The overall aim of this Bill is to locate control over the SABC in the hands of the minister," Mazibuko said.
"A strong board and an effective Parliament are what is needed to steer the SABC in the right direction, not an all-powerful minister with the authority to make the public broadcaster subject to the whims of the government of the day.
"Aside from anything else, the Public Service Broadcasting Bill is unconstitutional, since the 1% tax proposal renders it a money bill, which, according to the Constitution, may only be introduced by the Finance Minister."
Mazibuko said the bill represented an attempt to revert the public broadcaster to a government-run State broadcaster, as was the case under apartheid.
"In recent years the SABC has been the target of repeated attempts by successive African National Congress administrations to influence its news content and editorial stance, particularly with regard to politica reporting.
"This proposed legislation, we believe, represents an attempt by the current administration to legitimise such practices, which undermine the broadcaster's independence and violate the constitutionally protected principle of media freedom."
The DA has proposed that the proposed legislation be scrapped in its entirety and the current Broadcasting Act remain in force.