“We’re concerned that President Zuma is deliberately delaying the appointment of the new board for political reasons, leaving an unacceptable gap in governance at the SABC,” says Dominique Msibi, OUTA Portfolio Director for Special Projects.
The Portfolio Committee on Communications recommended 12 candidates to Parliament after going through a list of more than 300 applicants, assessing, shortlisting and interviewing candidates. The National Assembly approved the candidates on 7 September and the list went to the President for approval but has stalled there. At the weekend, the Presidency denied that there was any attempt to change the candidates, saying the delay was due to the need for “due diligence” and checking the candidates.
OUTA believes that the assessment and approval of the candidates was the responsibility of the Portfolio Committee and Parliament, which did this, and any delay now gives rise to the potential for manipulation.
Msibi is concerned that the new board is needed to appoint three crucial executives for SABC, as all three positions are currently held by acting appointees whose appointments apparently run out within days. The SABC is awaiting permanent appointments for the key positions of the Chief Executive Officer, the Chief Operating Officer and the Chief Financial Officer. The new board is expected to make these appointments.
“If there is no board, then who appoints the new executives? Will the President appoint his own people? This is unacceptable. We are at risk of seeing the interim board’s good work being lost,” says Msibi.
In July, the Sunday Times reported that the interim board appointed Nomsa Philiso as acting CEO, Bessie Tugwana as acting COO and Thabile Dlamini as acting CFO until 12 October, quoting an internal SABC document. These interim appointments followed the dismissal of CEO Hlaudi Motsoeneng and the resignation of COO/CFO James Aguma.
“We urge President Zuma to rise above political favouritism and appoint the new board, so they can get SABC back on track,” says Msibi.
OUTA is a proudly South African non-profit civil action organisation, comprising of and supported by people who are passionate about holding government accountable and improving the prosperity of South Africa.