SABC interim board supplies vetting info requested by Muthambi

2017-03-30 20:43
Communications Minister Faith Muthambi (Kopano Tlape, File)

Communications Minister Faith Muthambi (Kopano Tlape, File)

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Cape Town - The SABC's interim board members have supplied the information needed for security clearance as requested by Communications Minister Faith Muthambi, board chairperson Khanyisile Kweyama said on Thursday.

She confirmed the board had received Muthambi's letter, which stated that board members cannot proceed with their job until they have been vetted by the state security department.

"Board members have supplied the information requested by the minister and we await further communication."

In the letter, Muthambi asks the board members to send a copy of their identity books to her ministry to "facilitate security clearance as the South African Broadcasting Corporation is declared as a national key point in terms of the National Key Point Act".

She also asked them to declare any direct or indirect interests in line with section 16 and 17 of the Broadcasting Act.

The Democratic Alliance said Muthambi should move aside so the interim board could get to work.

Clearance 'critical step'

Her letter to the board members on Wednesday comes less than a week after the board was appointed by President Jacob Zuma.

Muthambi said she would countersign Zuma's decision after security clearance had been granted.

She referred to a section of the Constitution that states that a written decision by the president "must be countersigned by another Cabinet member if that decision concerns a function assigned to that other Cabinet member".

A source with inside knowledge of the letter confirmed its contents.

Muthambi said the SABC board reported to Parliament via the executive authority for communications in terms of the Public Finance Management Act, making her signature necessary.

"You are therefore required not to commence with your duties as an interim board member until the security clearance process has been conducted by the state security department."

Communications ministry spokesperson Mish Molokeng told News24 on Thursday that Muthambi was "simply bringing the vetting process to the attention of the new board members because it is an inherent and critical step in appointing members to the SABC board".

DA spokesperson Phumzile van Damme said Muthambi did not have any authority to prevent the board from meeting with representatives of Parliament, to whom it had to account by law.

Zuma letter should be 'final word'

"Moreover, the Broadcasting Act does not require the security vetting of the SABC's interim board, and lists short timelines for both its nomination and appointment so that the public broadcaster is not without a board for a long period of time."

The public broadcaster has been without a fully constituted board since September 2016.

Zuma's appointment letter mentioned nothing about vetting and should thus be taken as the final word, Van Damme said.

On Sunday, Zuma announced the appointment of Kweyama, John Matisonn, Mathatha Tsedu, Febe Potgieter-Gqubule and Krish Naidoo for six months.

Kweyama and Tsedu were appointed as chairperson and deputy chairperson of the SABC board respectively.

Parliament's portfolio committee on communications on Thursday visited the SABC as part of its week-long oversight visit to various communication entities.

SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago referred queries to Muthambi's office, saying he was in a meeting with the committee.

Committee chairperson Humphrey Maxegwana had not yet responded to a request for comment at the time of publishing.

Read more on:    parliament  |  sabc  |  faith muthambi  |  media

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