2 more quit SABC board

2009-06-24 14:50

Cape Town - Two more SABC board members have resigned, leaving one last member standing, SABC news reported on Wednesday.

Alison Gillwald remains the last member of the board, after Gloria Serobe and Khanyisiwe Mkonza stepped down.

Businesswoman Serobe announced her resignation from the board during a parliamentary committee inquiry on Wednesday.

"From the end of September I will not be in a position to perform any of my duties," Serobe told the committee, which was attended by Communications Minister Siphiwe Nyanda.

"At 50, I am sure I can still do more somewhere else."

Board 'can't function'

At the inquiry Gillwald insisted: "There is nothing to resign from. The board can't function. What do I achieve by resigning?"

Board members are required to serve a three-month notice period after their resignations.

The inquiry into the SABC, which is asking for a R2bn bailout from the government, wrapped up on Wednesday morning.

One of the board's former members, Andile Mbeki, appealed for the portfolio committee on communications to dissolve the board with immediate effect.

"Please dissolve us. Please appoint a permanent board."

A department of communications official told the committee that SABC executives had often failed to supply reports and information.

He said on one occasion an SABC executive had to be rushed to a meeting with the department to finalise its budget, one day before it was to be handed to the minister of finance.

The SABC's acting chief executive Gab Mampone told the committee the SABC board and executive had to own up to its mistakes. He said the SABC had on several occasions failed to give key strategic information to the Department of Communications.

We can't deny that," he said, before adding: "Things are improving quite immensely. But we must co-own all the mishaps at the SABC and take collective responsibility."

Foreign bureaus

Former presidential spokesperson Bheki Khumalo, who also resigned as an SABC board member, said the broadcaster's foreign bureaus had driven up costs.

"There was over-expenditure of R80m in bureaus alone."

Committee member and ANC MP Johnny de Lange said it was clear the SABC board and executive had a problem with communication.

"One thing is clear is that [they] don't talk to each other."

United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa said the board had been "sacrificial lambs".

"We need to thank them for exposing the bad decision of the SABC executive."

Holomisa suggested a skills audit of the entire SABC executive.

The DA's representative on the committee, Niekie van den Bergh, said it seemed the problems at the SABC stemmed from a breakdown of relationships.

He suggested, to much laughter, that the board and executive be locked away on Robben Island until they resolve their differences.

Committee chair Ismail Vadi said that would be difficult as the board of Robben Island had also collapsed.