Media, Newsdeck

Nothing wrong with SABC board candidates being ANC members – Mthembu

Cape Town – African National Congress chief whip Jackson Mthembu has dismissed opposition concerns that some SABC board candidates are also ANC members, labelling it "politicking".

Mthembu told News24 this week that he was happy with both the process and outcome of Parliament’s work to nominate 12 non-executive members to board positions at the public broadcaster.

He, however, took exception to the DA and EFF’s objections that two candidates, Febe Potgieter-Gqubule and Krish Naidoo, were “deployed” ANC members.

“They have been serving on the interim board. They have done wonderful work together with the other three members of the interim board,” Mthembu said.

“If people were worried about these two being members of the ANC, wouldn’t those people have raised it when we first appointed the interim board?”

Both candidates were part of the five-person interim board that was charged with steadying the ship at the public broadcaster over the last six months.

Since opposition parties did not raise it initially, both Naidoo and Potgieter-Gqubule had shown their efficacy in their six months on the interim board during trying times, Mthembu said.

“So, why would it be a problem now? These two are cadres and South Africans who qualify. That’s what the advert said. They are not holding positions in the party.”

He said he was certain that the other nine members nominated for non-executive positions also “vote for somebody”.

Naidoo and Potgieter-Gqubule had proved their mettle during the struggle, having served their people then, and should be able to serve going forward. They were also not the only ANC members serving the country.

“Are we saying we must only pick up on those two, and leave everybody else to be beneficiaries of our democratic dispensation?”

He said he was not worried that the ANC’s choices for the board could lead the SABC down a similar destructive path as the last few years.

Naidoo was a previous permanent board member who publicly resigned at a portfolio committee meeting in October 2016, along with one other, citing the delegation’s “amateurish” presentation as the last straw.

Their public resignations sparked the crisis the board at the time found itself in under Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s de facto leadership, leaving it inquorate.

Mthembu would not be drawn on who should be brought in at a chief executive level at the public broadcaster.

Communications Minister Ayanda Dlodlo would ensure the board functioned properly, he said confidently.

“That board is accountable to a minister who is the shareholder. Comrade Ayanda Dlodlo, I can tell you, has had a wonderful relationship with the interim board, and will with the permanent board.”

The National Assembly adopted the 12 names for non-executive positions on Wednesday. They now only await the approval and subsequent appointment by President Jacob Zuma.

All five interim board members made it onto the list, which also includes interim chairperson Khanyisile Kweyama, Mathatha Tsedu and John Matisonn.

The other recommendations are: Michael Markovitz, Nomvuyiso Batyi, Rachel Kalidass, Victor Rambau, Jack Phalane, Dinkanyane Mohuba and Bongumusa Makhathini.

The SABC board also has three executive members – the chief executive, and financial and operations officers – making up a total of 15 members.

The new board will serve for a maximum term of five years. DM


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