Parliament failed in its selection of SABC board - Muthambi

Johannesburg - Communications Minister Faith Muthambi has absolved herself from any blame in the current management crisis at the SABC, and has instead laid the dysfunction of the board at Parliament's door.

This follows Muthambi's grilling by the communications ad-hoc committee in Parliament on Wednesday on the fitness of the SABC board to hold office.

"The fact is, if the board is found wanting, it is because Parliament failed in its job to select the kind of board that will serve the country. Second, the board is accountable to Parliament and has routinely appeared before it with not so much of a whimper of protest coming out," the communications ministry said in a statement on Thursday.   

In her quest to clear her name, Muthambi has also set her sights on the media, saying the media had advanced a "false narrative to divert attention from real issues and culprits". 

"One is that the mayhem playing itself out at the SABC is because of Muthambi's unbridled interference in the affairs of the corporation. The other narrative is that she was sleeping on the job. Unfortunately both are false."

The communications ministry goes on to say the SABC board is by law the accounting authority that accounts directly to Parliament.

DA 'frustrated'

"The minister's oversight responsibility is limited and is prescribed by law. The appointment of staff falls outside her sphere of control. As she pointed out in Parliament and the facts bore her out, the appointment of the SABC COO was a decision of the board, not hers."

Muthambi has continued to fulfil her obligation in ensuring that the board submits strategic and annual performance plans, quarterly reports as required by Treasury and Parliament, it said.

Muthambi's office alleges that it frustrated the DA during its questioning and in a desperate attempt the party pulled out its last card by alleging Muthambi's house was bought by Motsoeneng.

"The truth is however the opposite. The minister has lived in her house long before she assumed office. We are not surprised by this. Character assassination is a weapon of the desperate."

On Wednesday Muthambi dodged and ducked all questions pointedly asking her for her opinion on the SABC's sole board member, Professor Mbulaheni Maguvhe.

Instead, she called on Parliament to fast-track the process of determining the SABC board's fitness to hold office, and appoint an interim board.

One thing she was unwavering about was that she herself was "fit and proper to be a shareholder representative" of the SABC.
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