Re­store the in­tegrity

The Star Early Edition - - OPINION & ANALYSIS -

SOUTH Africans wait with bated breath for the an­nounce­ment of nom­i­nees for the pub­lic broad­caster’s in­terim board. With all that has been go­ing on at the SABC, it can only be hoped that when the Chief Whips’ Fo­rum re­ceives a list of pre­ferred can­di­dates from po­lit­i­cal par­ties, it will be the names of sound-minded peo­ple with the pub­lic’s best in­ter­ests at heart.

These should be peo­ple whose key fo­cus would be to up­root the rot that threat­ens to col­lapse the broad­caster, pro­vide strate­gic over­sight and re­store its in­tegrity and im­age.

The Chief Whips’ Fo­rum is tasked with reach­ing a con­sen­sus on pre­ferred can­di­dates, then to take those names to the com­mu­ni­ca­tions port­fo­lio com­mit­tee for dis­cus­sion and adop­tion be­fore rec­om­men­da­tions are made to Speaker Baleka Mbete.

What­ever hap­pens dur­ing this process, tax­pay­ers’ in­ter­ests should be at the top of each and ev­ery de­ci­sion-maker’s mind.

Those con­sid­ered should be up­stand­ing mem­bers of so­ci­ety, whose pri­or­ity will be to lay the foun­da­tion for trans­for­ma­tion at the SABC, not cor­rupt peo­ple who will fur­ther poke holes into the al­ready sinking ship; not pup­pets who will be used to fur­ther steal from the pub­lic purse through ir­reg­u­lar ten­der pro­cesses.

These peo­ple should have back­bones. Join­ing the cir­cus that is the SABC can­not be easy, so board mem­bers should be firm, prin­ci­pled peo­ple who are not eas­ily swayed.

In light of the is­sues re­lat­ing to ed­i­to­rial pol­icy and cen­sor­ship at the broad­caster, these board mem­bers should re­mem­ber that they are duty-bound to en­sure that the SABC pro­duces com­pelling, pro­fes­sional and au­thor­i­ta­tive news and cur­rent af­fairs – not wa­tered down news pieces that in­sult the in­tel­li­gence of those who pay their TV li­cences.

While the in­terim board will have only a term of not less than six months, we hope that top of its pri­or­ity list will be trans­for­ma­tion and good gov­er­nance.

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