Minister calls for probe into SABC

2013-03-06 00:00

CAPE TOWN — The communications minister yesterday instituted an investigation into the competence of the SABC board.

Minister Dina Pule sent a letter to the Parliamentary communications committee asking that it investigate.

“South Africa deserves a state broadcaster that works for it,” she wrote.

She met yesterday with the board, which is riven by conflicts, that burst into the open over the decision to fire acting CEO Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

Pule said because Parliament appoints board members, she asked it “to advise whether it believes the board is fulfilling its mandate to South Africa”.

Conflict over the SABC is also dividing members of the committee.

Opposition MPs demanded yesterday that the SABC board be urgently summoned to explain what is going on.

Cope’s Juli Kilian reminded MPs of their special oversight role.

However, ANC MPs, who are in the majority, made it clear they do not feel there is as much urgency, suggesting that the board should be summoned next quarter.

Chairperson Eric Kholwane (ANC) said they shouldn’t pull any punches.

“We are all aware of problems at the SABC. Auckland Park is burning. But we will first allow the minister to meet the board, whereafter we will investigate the case and its priority,” he said yesterday.

By the time of going to print last night, Kholwane had not yet spoken to Pule.

He said the committee has the power to call the board to Parliament at any time.

The SABC was supposed to appear last week, but pulled out at the last minute.

The Witness reported yesterday that the board has already said it would not reverse the decision on Motsoeneng, even though chairperson Dr Ben Ngubane is opposed to it. He was not at the meeting that took the decision.

“It would take a board decision to reinstate Motsoeneng,” board member Lumko Mtimde said.

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