New SABC board im­mi­nent as cor­rup­tion in­ves­ti­ga­tion looms

The Star Early Edition - - POLITICS - SIYABONGA MKHWANAZI

THE SABC could have a new board as early as this week, once mem­bers of the port­fo­lio com­mit­tee on com­mu­ni­ca­tions have picked the names of the pro­posed can­di­dates.

The com­mit­tee is hold­ing its first meet­ing for the year to­mor­row, where it will dis­cuss five names of peo­ple to serve on the SABC in­terim board.

The ad hoc com­mit­tee on the SABC has en­dorsed the estab­lish­ment of the in­terim board and pro­posed that it be set up as soon as pos­si­ble.

One of the rec­om­men­da­tions ex­pected to be rat­i­fied by the ad hoc com­mit­tee at to­mor­row’s meet­ing is the full-scale in­ves­ti­ga­tion into cor­rup­tion at the SABC.

The five-mem­ber board will have a six-month pe­riod to sta­bilise the public broad­caster be­fore a per­ma­nent board is es­tab­lished.

The meet­ing of the com­mu­ni­ca­tions com­mit­tee will de­ter­mine the process to be fol­lowed in pick­ing the in­terim board.

But the ad hoc com­mit­tee has al­ready said the Broad­cast­ing Act pro­vides a guide on how the can­di­dates must be nom­i­nated and ap­pointed.

Part of the pro­posed rec­om­men­da­tions from the ad hoc com­mit­tee is that can­di­dates to serve on the board must be qual­i­fied with rel­e­vant ex­per­tise and ex­pe­ri­ence in broad­cast­ing, reg­u­la­tion and fi­nan­cial man­age­ment.

MPs from var­i­ous po­lit­i­cal par­ties have said they want a strong board that will be able to put their foot down and dig deep into cor­rup­tion at the SABC.

They also want a board that will follow the law and ac­count to Par­lia­ment.

The pre­vi­ous boards of the SABC have been di­vided and in­volved in in­fight­ing, lead­ing to their col­lapse in re­cent years.

The com­mu­ni­ca­tions com­mit­tee is ex­pected to set a dead­line to fi­nalise the names of peo­ple to serve on the in­terim board.

But the ad hoc com­mit­tee has in­di­cated its de­sire to have quick re­sults at the public broad­caster.

The in­terim board will have to follow the rec­om­men­da­tions of the Public Pro­tec­tor and the Au­di­tor-Gen­eral’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

The Public Pro­tec­tor’s rec­om­men­da­tions have been said not to have been im­ple­mented by the SABC, and the 2014 re­port was never taken to court for a re­view by those who dis­agreed with it.

The par­ties are ex­pected to ta­ble some of the names of the can­di­dates they want on the in­terim board.

Some of the par­ties have al­ready called for new board mem­bers to stay away from pol­i­tics, and not be mem­bers of po­lit­i­cal par­ties, to avoid a con­flict of in­ter­est. The is­sue of po­lit­i­cal in­ter­fer­ence has come out strongly at the ad hoc com­mit­tee hear­ings.

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