Padayachie aims to stabilise SABC

2010-11-11 16:06

Pretoria – Stabilising public entities, including the troubled national broadcaster, as well as filling all vacancies within his department is a major priority, newly appointed Communications Minister Roy Padayachie announced on Thursday.

Speaking at his first press conference since being appointed to the post on October 31, Padayachie, who outlined the challenges facing his ministry, said that resolving the leadership problems in the national broadcaster as well as addressing its financial woes was critical.

"What we need is a public broadcaster that functions competently," he said.

He hoped in the near future to finalise a turnaround strategy.

His ministry also aimed to see a repeal of the 1999 Broadcasting Act and have it replaced with the public service broadcasting bill. He expected the bill, which also deals with corporate governance issues, to be presented to Cabinet in the first quarter of 2011.

SABC boss Solly Mokoetle has been in a stand off with the broadcaster's board since September when he was suspended for failing to deliver on a turn-around strategy. Mokoetle, who was appointed in mid-January on a five year contract, has argued that he has had insufficient time.

Resolving staffing issues

Padayachie, who replaced Siphiwe Nyanda, said that he would like to see the department of communications stabilised and its staffing issues resolved.

One of his priorities was to ensure all senior management positions, including the post of director general, were filled within the next three months. He said that overall he would attempt to address the department's staff vacancy rate of 30% within the next six months.

"We want to do things differently, working harder, faster and smarter," he said.

He said that he and his newly appointed deputy minister Obed Bapela had received a positive response to their appointment from within the department as well as from the public, including the technology sector.

He would also seek to have all senior positions at Sentech, the national signals distributor, filled within the next three months.

He said the functioning of the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) would need to be strengthened and that an Icasa amendment bill could be finalised and submitted to Cabinet in the first half of 2011.