Be­ware the SABC’s re­cap­ture

CityPress - - Voices -

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.

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