Beware the SABC’s recapture
Something is afoot at the SABC and it does not look good. President Jacob Zuma has missed the deadline to appoint members of the SABC board and has justified that by saying he is being rigorous with the vetting process.
But most candidates say the vetting process they are now undergoing is precisely the same as the one already carried out by Parliament.
Communications Minister Ayanda Dlodlo is also stalling on signing off the successful candidates to the positions of chief executive officer, chief operating officer (COO) and chief financial officer, arguing that the candidates were not impressive enough. “The candidates did not have the level of experience that made one comfortable,” she was quoted as saying. Because no one knows what will make the minister comfortable, it is difficult to know precisely what she is talking about.
However, all these delays have caused suspicion that Zuma and his acolytes want to reverse the clean-up of the SABC and regain control ahead of the ANC’s December conference as well the 2019 general elections.
The Zuma clique is desperately looking for ways to exclude members of the expired interim board, over whom they exercise no control. The interim board, led by Khanyisile Kweyama, exposed all the mess that had been created by former COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng and the old board. They cancelled corrupt deals and appointed competent professionals to relevant posts. The ouster of Motsoeneng, who used to boast of his direct line to uBaba, could not have pleased Zuma.
So, the ominous signs are there to see. The presidency had a meeting with senior executives, which it described as routine. But it is hard not to view the SABC as the new site of capture.
From board level to strategic executives and now to the newsroom, the Zuma machinery is at work. The only thing missing is a statue.
Dlodlo and Zuma must know that South Africans will resist any attempt to recapture the SABC.