National Assembly gives thumbs-up to SABC board despite EFF and DA objections
The opposition parties particularly objected to Krish Naidoo and Febe Potgieter-Gqubule, whom they labelled ‘ANC operatives’
The National Assembly on Wednesday overwhelmingly voted in favour of adopting the 12 proposed names to serve on the permanent board of the SABC, despite objections by the DA and the EFF.
The proposed candidates for the board are:
• Current interim board chairwoman Khanyisile Kweyama;
• Former Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) councillor Nomvuyiso Batyi;
• Erstwhile board member Rachel Kalidass;
• University of Limpopo dean of students Dinkwanyane Mohuba;
• Head of business enablement at the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (Nsfas) Victor Rambau;
• Director of legal and external affairs at British American Tobacco (BAR) Bongumusa Makhathini;
• Media consultant Michael Markovitz;
• Jack Phalane, a lawyer and partner at Fluxmans Attorneys;
• Mathatha Tsedu, current interim board deputy chairman and veteran journalist; and
• Interim board members John Mattison, Krish Naidoo and Febe Potgieter-Gqubule.
The list of the candidates will now be forwarded to President Jacob Zuma for appointment.
But opposition parties raised concerns about the credibility of some of the proposed members of the permanent board.
Parliament’s communications portfolio committee on Tuesday drew up a final list of the 12-member board, following much deliberation.
The DA and EFF particularly objected to the appointment Naidoo and Potgieter-Gqubule whom they labelled "ANC operatives". Naidoo is a legal consultant for the ANC, and Potgieter-Gqubule revealed during interviews that she was considering serving on the ruling party’s national executive committee.
Other candidates the DA objected to were Makhathini and Mohuba.
"Mohuba did not allay suspicions of his closeness to former ANC Limpopo chairman Cassel Mathale and Makhathini currently serves as the chairperson of the foundation of President Jacob Zuma’s wife, Bongi Ngema-Zuma," said DA MP and communications spokeswoman Phumzile van Damme.
"Despite the best efforts of the DA and other opposition parties in the committee, it seems as though cadre-deployment is yet again set to return to the SABC," she said.
Media Monitoring Africa director William Bird said: "Given the nature of the process, we should not be surprised that there are ANC people on the board. [However], it is a significant improvement from when the previous [committees where ANC MPs] got the list from Luthuli House."
Bird said the board was "one of the better SABC boards".
"The process has generally been much, much better. It made a huge difference having their CVs. Now we just would love them to sign up to the principles of public broadcasting. That will be the real test," he said.
The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) also welcomed the permanent board of the public broadcaster.
"Following the interim board’s excellent job with the long-overdue clean up at SABC, we trust the new SABC board will continue in the same vein by maintaining the momentum of the clean-up and ensuring that the SABC remains free of political meddling going forward," said Dominique Msibi, Outa’s portfolio director for special projects.
The office of ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu said:"Parliament’s recommendation of these new board members for our public broadcaster is a culmination of a transparent, open and inclusive process where more than 300 applications were processed into 36 shortlisted candidates who were interviewed in the full glare of the public.
"This team holds much needed in-depth knowledge in various fields, including corporate governance, legal services, financial management, journalism and communications, broadcasting administration and intellectual property laws."