Zuma must intervene in SABC chaos - Moloi-Moropa

2016-10-09 06:27
BEST OPTION Joyce Moloi-Moropa is pleased with the committee’s decision to remove the current board. Picture: Asief Manie

BEST OPTION Joyce Moloi-Moropa is pleased with the committee’s decision to remove the current board. Picture: Asief Manie

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Former communications portfolio chairperson Joyce Moloi-Moropa this week said the best option to resolve the SABC chaos was for President Jacob Zuma to intervene.

Moloi-Moropa said Zuma could solve the problem faster than any inquiry into the fitness of the SABC board, as proposed this week by the portfolio committee on communications.

Four members of the board defiantly vowed to continue with their work, even after two board members resigned, and after they were called upon to resign as well.

Moloi-Moropa said Zuma should step in and restore order because as head of state it was his prerogative to appoint board members of state-owned entities after recommendations by Parliament.

“We should not allow a situation where people can challenge Parliament when it is doing its duty. An inquiry might take too long. My opinion is to use a shortcut – go straight to Zuma – for the sake of the country,” she said.

More members of the ANC communications subcommittee, including Moloi-Moropa, were expected to make proposals during a meeting this week.

In an interview with City Press on Friday, Moloi-Moropa said National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete could be asked by the portfolio committee to write a letter requesting Zuma to crack the whip by forcing the members of the board to resign, or even fire them.

She said the calibre of the remaining board members was embarrassing and suggested that, moving forward, a much more stringent process must be exercised when choosing people for an asset such as the public broadcaster.

Regarded as one of the more competent portfolio committee chairpersons, Moloi-Moropa – who is also SA Communist Party treasurer – resigned from Parliament in February over frustrations that principles of the ANC were being undermined.

She has in the past famously clashed with axed SABC chairperson Ellen Tshabalala and has fought with Communications Minister Faith Muthambi over the SABC.

Although she played down any tensions this week, Moloi-Moropa and Muthambi have had frosty relations over the past two years.

The last straw for Moloi-Moropa was when the portfolio committee was forced to backtrack on a legal opinion over the powers of the minister to remove SABC board members.

This was in relation to the removal of the late Hope Zinde, Rachel Kalidass and Ronnie Lubisi.

ANC members in the committee had earlier backed Parliament’s legal opinion that their firing by Muthambi using the Companies Act was illegal, but, to the chairpersons’ shock, had later backtracked.

Now serving full time at the SACP, Moloi-Moropa was reluctant to directly refer to her tenure in the hot seat, but emphasised that squabbles in committees weakened the work of Parliament.

Exercising proper oversight would strengthen the reputation of Parliament.

“If oversight is not done properly, including respecting the Broadcasting Act in as far as the SABC is concerned, it leads to a lot of problems.”

Moloi-Moropa was chairperson of the portfolio committee on public service and administration before she was deployed to head the communications committee in 2014.

In a letter explaining her resignation last October, she stated: “I met serious challenges beyond what I can carry and therefore cannot successfully deliver the mandate vested in me to the best of my abilities.”

Moloi-Moropa further wrote in her letter:

“I do need to indicate that in the course of my duties as chairperson of the portfolio committee on communications, I was increasingly placed in a position of having to accede to pursuing policies I understood to be, at worst, in conflict with those of the ANC or, at best, at variance with those policies.”

This was believed to have also been linked to Muthambi’s decision on digital migration.

This week, Moloi-Moropa said she would never compromise on the principles of the ANC just to have pap and meat on her table.

“I wish the portfolio committee well in dealing with this task. The shortest process is for the president to get members of the board to step down and then constitute an interim board.

"The interest of Parliament is to see a functional SABC. Right now, it is collapsing.”

She was pleased at the synergy that shone through when the committee comprising different parties this week made a decision to remove the current board.

“A lot can be achieved when a committee understands what it has to do, which is to ensure that government accounts. It is not always easy for the parties to agree.”

Read more on:    sabc  |  jacob zuma

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