'SABC needs a pilot' says board candidate who admits having no broadcast experience

Advocate Mathews Mofokeng told Parliament's portfolio committee on communications on Tuesday that, while he had no qualifications in broadcasting, he has what it takes to steer the troubled SA Broadcasting Corporation out of its financial troubles. 

Mofokeng was the second candidate to be interviewed by the committee Tuesday to fill vacancies on the public broadcaster's board.

He previously worked for the Free State provincial government during the time that ANC Secretary General Ace Magashule was premier.  

Mofokeng acknowledged he did not have much experience in the broadcast industry. But he said he had the leadership qualities it took to save the broadcaster.

"I am a pilot. This plane called the SABC is facing challenges as we speak. It needs a pilot. It needs someone to take it off the ground," he said. 

Committee member and DA MP, Phumzile van Damme, asked Mofokeng about his role in the office of the premier of the Free State. Asked to rate his performance, in light of the poor state of governance at provincial and municipal level, Mofokeng said he tried his best. 

He told the committee one of the most urgent challenges facing the broadcaster was improving morale.

"If I get appointed, we need to improve the morale. Many of the employees are looking for a job as we speak. Other rival channels are already poaching people. We must have a quality product for money to chase after," said Mofokeng.

EFF MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi asked Mofokeng how open digital television has affected the trajectory of TV. 

Mofokeng replied that content must be checked and improved continuously to attract a larger audience. He suggested a structure to investigate the matter and advise the board on how to respond.

Unsatisfied with Mofokeng's answer, Ndlozi bluntly told Mofokeng that he did not understand the question and proceeded to explain to Mofokeng what Netflix was.

Asked if he believed he had anything unique to offer the SABC board, Mofokeng said: "I may not have the qualifications it takes in terms of broadcasting, but look at what a caretaker coach is doing for Man United. I will definitely add value. I know how".

When asked by van Damme to define what creative measures he would introduce to turn the SABC around, Mofokeng said: "There are technologies out there that can assist the SABC to ensure defaulters pay their licenses and the broadcaster gets its revenue".

Tuesday's hearings are set to continue until 22:00. 

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