Process to appoint new SABC board members stalled

2015-05-12 16:23
(Photo: SABC website)

(Photo: SABC website)

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MPs are not happy with the quality of the 24 CVs they have received to fill two vacancies in the SABC board. 

Parliament’s oversight committee on communications adjourned its meeting this morning without shortlisting candidates to fill the vacancies created by the departure of Thembinkosi Bonakele and Bongani Khumalo; instead MPs suggested that the committee re-advertise the positions or even head-hunt people to sit on the board. 

The shortlisting of candidates was the only item on the meeting’s agenda, but the meeting was adjourned with the view to get legal advice on how to proceed. 

“We want to further consult on legal areas whether we are legally right,” committee chairperson Joyce Moloi-Moropa told City Press after the adjournment. 

She said they wanted to be absolutely sure that the process they follow is legally correct. 

One of the proposals from several MPs during the meeting was for the committee to consider candidates who had applied for another SABC board vacancy earlier this year. 

The committee shortlisted five candidates in March to fill the vacancy left by former SABC board chairperson Ellen Tshabalala. A whopping 97 applications had been received for that position. 

While five candidates were shortlisted, the committee never proceeded with interviews and is yet to recommend a name to the National Assembly for appointment. Board members are appointed by the president on recommendation of the National Assembly. 

This morning, EFF MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi was the first to suggest that the applicants may not be up to scratch. 
“If the vacancies were properly advertised, then this country is in a crisis because these CVs were difficult,” said Ndlozi. 

“These 24 we have here is a crisis. From this pool of 24, we are not going to get credible six names. I think we would be short-cutting ourselves,” he added. 

DA MP Gavin Davis had earlier wanted to know whether the four names to be shortlisted would be from the 24 submissions or whether MPs would reconsider names from the previous submissions. 

Davis said he had a problem with the fact that for Tshabalala’s post, which was one vacancy, the committee had received 97 applications, and this time around, when there are two vacancies, the committee only received 24 applications. 

“That’s not a lot of people to choose from for two positions and I’ve got a bit of a difficulty with that because we want the best we could find and it might well be the case that the previous 97 there might be some people who might be better than the 24 that have been submitted,” he said. 

Davis agreed with Ndlozi saying: “To choose two people from 24 for such an important position and having gone through the CVs, I must be honest I can’t find that much quality among these 24 candidates and that is going to leave us with a problem”.

“We have to balance what is more important here; and what is more important is getting the right outcome for the SABC so that we can turn around the broadcaster and that’s the most important priority we have,” said Davis. 

ANC MP BigBoy Kekana warned however that legally the committee may not be allowed to consider names that were submitted during a previous process. 

Kekana supported a view that the committee re-advertise for the positions. 

“You know this committee is very important for this country. This nomination of board members is our legacy. Once we take every Tom, Dick and Harry and second them to the SABC and things fall apart, then we are in trouble and [so will be] our standing as a committee. People will no longer take us seriously,” he said. 

“So, let us do something that will make people see us. Let us consider to just go and re-advertise. Let’s be bold and go and re-advertise,” he added.

Read more on:    parliament  |  gavin davis  |  mbuyeseni ndlozi

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