Parliament wants answers from SABC board

The Portfolio Committee on Communications (PCC) has issued a frank statement expressing its “concern and dismay at the untenable situation currently presiding over at the SABC” following the “untimely and surprising” resignations from the board.

According to an SABC news report, chairperson Ben Ngubane and deputy chair Thami ka Plaatjie tendered their resignations on Sunday.

They bring to nine the total number of resignations from the 12-person board since its inception.

The PCC has stated they would like to meet with the board as a matter of urgency, escalating the tension between the board and the portfolio committee.

When asked when he expected that meeting to be, PCC chairperson Sikhumbuzo Kholwane said: “The key will be when the president responds – either accepts or rejects the resignations. If he does it today or tomorrow then we will call the board to appear on Friday.”

The board has delayed – for several months – submitting its report on the Special Investigations Unit’s findings into maladministration and corruption at SABC between 2005 and 2010.

It’s believed that this report was one of the sources of conflict that led to the most recent resignations.

But that will not be the only issue on the agenda, says Kholwane. “We will want to know what has happened in the past few weeks that has led to this crisis. We might want to call for an investigation into the operability of the board.”

Kholwane told City Press that for some time now “one could detect a lack of leadership on the board” and that the public broadcaster cannot afford any form of instability, “especially at the time when the country will be migrating from analogue to digital”.

It will no doubt be a tense meeting – and not the only one the board will be attending this week.

They were scheduled to meet with Communications Minister Dina Pule, and they will also be appearing before the Public Protector following a report submitted by several disaffected former staffers.

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