Guest Column

How the board was chosen

2009-09-18 09:07

Anton Harber

How parliament chose its candidates for the SABC board - and the arm wrestling that went on behind the scenes - tells us a lot about power in this society, and how it is exercised.

Most of the opposition parties refrained from making nominations. “It is for the country to do, not us,” a COPE member said to me. But the ANC had spokesperson Jessie Duarte make some nominations from Luthuli House - and those candidates were dead certs to make the final list. Also there were SACP and Cosatu nominations, though these were done in conjunction with other civil society organisations, like the SOS (Save our SABC) Coalition.

The shortlist of 30 was divided up by agreement: the opposition parties were given 10 spaces, and the ANC filled 20. When it was completed the ANC realised it had left out a strong candidate - Feleng Sekha - and made her number 31. The opposition lost two of its candidates when they dropped out after the list was in.

After the interviews, when it came down to the final list, the opposition apparently suggested the same process: they would put forward four names and the ANC eight - to make up the total board of 12. It was agreed to go this route, and it seemed possible that there could be a board everyone would vote in favour of.

The opposition put their heads together and came up with their list of about five names. But they wanted to see the ANC list first so that they did not use up their names on candidates they favoured who the ANC was going to nominate anyway.

When they saw the list, they realised there were seven candidates on the ANC’s list of 12 that they felt they could support. it seemed possible, they thought, that the parties could reach consensus on the full list. But before they could finalise their four, the ANC came out of caucus on Thursday morning and said they were voting in their list of 12 and ditching their agreement to give four places to other parties, according to members of the opposition.

The IFP asked for only one thing: that their veteran former-MP and former communications spokesperson Suzanne Vos get on the board. The ANC gave them this, and in turn the IFP was the only opposition party to vote for all ANC nominations.

Read the rest of Anton's article here...

Read more on:    anc  |  sabc  |  jessie duarte  |  anton harber
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