Board of SABC on the verge of col­lapse

The Herald (South Africa) - - News - Bekezela Phakathi

The SABC board is on the brink of col­lapse fol­low­ing the res­ig­na­tion of yet an­other nonex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor.

Ac­cord­ing to a re­port by the broad­caster, board mem­ber Mathatha Tsedu is the lat­est non-ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor to step down.

Three oth­ers have also re­signed. It was not im­me­di­ately clear if the res­ig­na­tions were with im­me­di­ate ef­fect or if the four would serve for a fur­ther three months.

If the res­ig­na­tions are im­me­di­ate, the board can no longer quo­rate and can­not take cru­cial de­ci­sions, amid a se­vere cash crunch at the pub­lic broad­caster.

Tsedu could not be reached for com­ment.

Pres­i­dency spokesper­son Khusela Diko said Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa was con­cerned about de­vel­op­ments at the broad­caster.

He had re­port­edly ac­cepted the res­ig­na­tion and would in­form the speaker of par­lia­ment.

The rel­e­vant port­fo­lio com­mit­tee would then look at fill­ing the va­can­cies, Diko told the SABC.

Par­lia­ment will have to fast­track the ap­point­ment of re­place­ment mem­bers.

Should it fail, the board will have to be dis­solved and re­placed by an in­terim team ap­pointed by the pres­i­dent.

Board mem­bers Khany­isile Kweyama, John Mat­ti­son and Kr­ish Naidoo ten­dered their res­ig­na­tions to Ramaphosa ear­lier this week.

The board al­ready has four va­can­cies fol­low­ing the res­ig­na­tion of Rachel Kal­i­dass, who quit ear­lier in 2018 af­ter clash­ing with her col­leagues over the ap­point­ment of the CEO.

Febe Pot­gi­eter-Gqubule re­signed to take up a post with the ANC.

Vic­tor Ram­bau also ten­dered his res­ig­na­tion ear­lier in 2018, while Nomvuy­iso Batyi, who was nom­i­nated by the port­fo­lio com­mit­tee on com­mu­ni­ca­tions, with­drew her ap­pli­ca­tion.

The board is meant to have 12 mem­bers. It needs nine mem­bers, in­clud­ing the three ex­ec­u­tives – CEO, CFO and COO – for a quo­rum.

Pre­vi­ous boards have col­lapsed due to po­lit­i­cal in­ter­fer­ence.

In a strongly worded let­ter to the board at the week­end, com­mu­ni­ca­tions min­is­ter Stella Nd­abeni-Abra­hams ac­cused it of not act­ing in the best in­ter­est of the pub­lic broad­caster as it pressed on with re­trench­ments. Like her pre­de­ces­sor, Nomvula Mokonyane, Nd­abeni-Abra­hams, who was re­cently ap­pointed to the port­fo­lio, has made it clear that she is op­posed to the re­trench­ments and has sug­gested that Ramaphosa in­ter­vene.

The SABC board, on the other hand, main­tains it has lit­tle choice but to let go more than 2,000 work­ers to re­main sus­tain­able.

Board mem­bers are said to be un­happy with the gov­ern­ment’s in­ter­fer­ence and be­lieve their best ef­forts to turn around the or­gan­i­sa­tion will fall flat un­der the present cir­cum­stances.

It is also un­der­stood that some board mem­bers who served on the pre­vi­ous in­terim board have been irked by a Spe­cial In­ves­ti­gat­ing Unit probe into the award­ing of a se­cu­rity ten­der. –

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