In­terim board chair ready to re­pair SABC

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - NEWS - LESEGO MAKGATHO

SABC in­terim board chair­per­son Khany­isile Kweyama be­lieves in in­tegrity.

“I’ve seen how dis­hon­esty messes up a coun­try, messes up in­sti­tu­tions,” she told In­de­pen­dent Me­dia this week.

“Al­ways care for the next per­son and don’t be self­ish. You must be able to sleep at night know­ing what­ever ac­tion you took dur­ing the day doesn’t risk some­one else’s life,” said the 53-year-old.

Kweyama and the SABC in­terim board mem­bers, who in­clude ac­claimed for­mer edi­tor Mathatha Tsedu, have been widely cred­ited for clean­ing up the mess at the broad­caster. She has been Busi­ness Unity SA chief ex­ec­u­tive and ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor of An­glo-Amer­i­can SA, the first woman to hold such a po­si­tion in the com­pany.

Par­lia­ment has en­dorsed the in­terim board and it’s now up to Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma to ap­prove it.

“It’s good for con­ti­nu­ity that all the mem­bers of the in­terim board have also been rec­om­mended for the per­ma­nent board… The SABC is quite a daunt­ing an­i­mal and in the past six months that we’ve been here it hasn’t been easy on many lev­els,” she said.

She is baf­fled by the level of mis­man­age­ment that has brought the SABC to the brink of col­lapse.

“Some­times you feel frus­trated and you won­der how this could have hap­pened over the years.

“Over­all, it’s good to be part of fix­ing an in­sti­tu­tion that is so cru­cial to the South African pub­lic… mak­ing sure the boat doesn’t sink com­pletely.

“Deal­ing with staff morale has been key as well, be­cause peo­ple were re­ally de­mor­alised and some de­pressed.

“We had a few deaths and, even though you can’t say some­one has com­mit­ted sui­cide, the over­all ef­fect on peo­ple has not been good.”

While the SABC has re­cently shifted its edi­to­rial poli­cies, Kweyama re­it­er­ated that it was im­por­tant to re­verse such poli­cies.She says the SABC should never be used as a mouth­piece for po­lit­i­cal par­ties and other or­gan­i­sa­tions, in­clud­ing the gov­ern­ing ANC.

“We’ve now been ap­pointed to the per­ma­nent board for five years, so that’s good to fix, to sta­bilise and start get­ting out into be­ing the broad­caster of choice, be­ing a good qual­ity broad­caster, mak­ing the money that you need to de­velop more con­tent, get­ting into the dig­i­tal age and just be­ing rel­e­vant.”

The board has set a tar­get of two years to fix the SABC. Progress has been made in the ap­point­ments of key po­si­tions at the SABC, and they are look­ing to pro­vide more di­verse pro­gram­ming and have more chan­nels.

“And also tech­nol­ogy, be­ing able to ac­cess con­tent not only when sit­ting in a lounge but wher­ever you are…

“Also, how do we at­tract more rev­enue be­cause we can prove that we have the au­di­ences and give them to ad­ver­tis­ers who would then want to stay with us.”

SABC in­terim board chair­per­son Khany­isile Kweyama be­lieves in hon­esty. ‘Dis­hon­esty messes up a coun­try, messes up in­sti­tu­tions,’ she says.

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