South Africa

Parliament adopts SABC interim board names

By News24 16 March 2017

Parliament on Wednesday approved the five names recommended for SABC interim board positions, with MPs describing their task as "unenviable" and "overdue". By Paul Herman, News24

Parties unanimously adopted the portfolio committee on communications’ interim board report recommending the five names.

It will now go to President Jacob Zuma for approval before it becomes official.

The five names are: Krish Naidoo, Febe Potgieter-Gqubule, Khanyisile Kweyama, Mathatha Tsedu and John Matisonn.

Kweyama and Tsedu have been nominated as interim board chairperson and deputy chairperson respectively.

Portfolio committee chairperson Humphrey Maxegwana told the House that the names got approval by consensus from all political parties in the committee.

‘Poisoned chalice’

IFP chief whip Narend Singh told MPs that the recent “meltdown” at the SABC had led Parliament to the current crisis.

He said the brave individuals who have made themselves available have been given a poisoned chalice “filled to the brim” with years of corporate mismanagement.

“It is an unenviable task, but one that must be performed,” he said.

He said the interim board will get Parliament’s support, but both it and Parliament must keep in mind their stay will only be for six months, and there was still work to do.

DA MP Phumzile van Damme said it was unfortunate that the portfolio committee only chose to act three months after former board chairperson Professor Mbulaheni Maguvhe resigned on December 19, 2016.

It should have appointed an interim board within 10 days of his resignation, she said.

“This appointment is three months overdue. Nevertheless, better late than never.”

Its first order of business must be to conduct a disciplinary inquiry into former chief executive Hlaudi Motsoeneng, as directed by the Western Cape High Court, she said.

Finances

She urged President Jacob Zuma to approve the names as soon as possible.

UDM MP Nqabayomzi Kwankwa said the new board has its work cut out for it.

“It also has to ensure that the SABC is not mindless but deliberate.”

ACDP MP Steve Swart, who also served as a member of the ad hoc committee that looked into affairs at the SABC, said the public broadcaster’s finances need to be deeply scrutinised.

An ANC MP said Parliament’s task was to exercise effective oversight over the interim board and that they hoped all parties could do it together.

“I hope as the ANC we can travel this road together, in making sure we have clean governance.”

Muthambi slammed

Both Singh and Van Damme slammed Communications Minister Faith Muthambi’s intention to take the separate ad hoc committee report on the SABC on review.

Singh said “all members of this House except the United Democratic Movement” supported the ad hoc committee report, and there were internal processes she should have followed before “running to the courts”.

“I think it is showing disdain for this… House,” he said.

Van Damme spoke out strongly against Muthambi’s intention to fight the ad hoc committee’s report and said the committee will fight tooth and nail for its recommendations. DM

Source: News24

Photo: Communications Minister Faith Muthambi (GCIS)

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