The SABC office in Auckland Park, Johannesburg. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES
The SABC office in Auckland Park, Johannesburg. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

Parliament’s communications portfolio committee will conduct interviews for the vacant SABC board positions at the end of October.

The board of the cash-strapped public broadcaster currently has four vacancies following the resignation of Rachel Kalidass, who quit after clashing with her board colleagues over the appointment of the CEO. Febe Potgieter-Gqubule resigned to take up a post with the ANC.  Victor Rambau tendered his resignation earlier in 2018, while Nomvuyiso Batyi, who was nominated by the portfolio committee on communications in September 2018, withdrew her application.

Despite the resignations, the SABC board, which is meant to have 12 members, still has a quorum.  It needs nine members including the three executives — CEO, CFO and COO — for a quorum.

The communications portfolio committee announced on Tuesday that it had shortlisted 12 candidates for the board positions.  The candidates are  Kevan Jones, Motshedi Lekalakala,   Thabo Leshilo,  Diliza Madikiza,  Unathi Magwentshu,  Makhubalo Vuyokazi, Mathews Mofokeng,  Bernedette Muthien,  Mergan Naidoo,  Thozama Nene,  Michael Nurick  and  Jasmina Patel.

The shortlisted candidates's names will be published on the parliamentary website for public comment for seven working days. The interviews are scheduled for October 30, in parliament, the committee said.

This comes as the SABC battles its worst financial crisis, with executives looking to cut jobs. It recorded a net loss of R622m in the financial year ended March, down from R1bn in 2017. The broadcaster spends more than R3bn a year on the salaries of more than 3,000 employees.

While the board maintains it has no choice but to lay off hundreds of workers to remain sustainable, communications minister Nomvula Mokonyane and several MPs are strongly opposed to the job cuts.

The new board, chaired by Bongumusa Makhathini, has been on an aggressive drive to turn around the SABC after years of decline under controversial former executive Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

Executives told MPs recently that part of the reason the wage bill had escalated over the years was the irregular salary increases awarded to numerous employees by previous management.

phakathib@businesslive.co.za