SABC board members silent

2009-06-23 13:22

Cape Town - SABC board members refused to take questions about the troubled broadcaster during a parliamentary inquiry on Tuesday.

Former deputy chairperson, Christine Qunta, read out a statement on behalf of at least seven of the board members saying there was "a very real apprehension of bias".

"We are of the view that the manner in which this 'inquiry' has been convened does not comply with the principles of administrative fairness," Qunta said.

"Since its appointment in January 2008, members of the committee have in Parliament and outside Parliament not only made unsubstantiated allegations against board members, but has also made it clear that it intends to have the board dissolved as soon as it could.

Taken sides

"Related to this concern is that fact that members of the committee appear to have taken sides with some members of the group executive of the SABC."

The SABC is facing a financial crisis and seeking a R2bn bailout from the government.

Nine members of the broadcaster's 12 member board have resigned so far.

The series of resignations came as a motion of no confidence was filed against board chairperson Kanyi Mkhonza, who quit last month. The board was left with only three members and no longer had a quorum.

The inquiry, which was called last week, was expected to propose that the SABC board be dissolved. That proposal would then be put before the National Assembly to allow an interim board to be appointed.

Account to Parliament

ANC MP Johnny de Lange said Qunta's statement left him "breathless".

"My view is that this is a properly constituted inquiry. We have said that we want to engage with them on what they have been doing for the past 18 months."

Independent Democrats MP Patricia De Lille called on the board members to "account to Parliament".

"The SABC is suffering. Let's save what is left, because you have destroyed the SABC."