Zuma still 'applying his mind' before approving new SABC board

(AFP)
(AFP)

Cape Town – The Presidency was aware that the SABC did not have a board and was treating the matter with the urgency it deserved, spokesperson Dr Bongani Ngqulunga said on Thursday.

The interim SABC board’s term ended on Tuesday. Three weeks ago, Parliament adopted the recommendations for the new board, but on Tuesday, the Presidency released a statement saying that Zuma was still "applying his mind".

"President Jacob Zuma has indeed received the recommended names of persons to serve on the SABC board," said Ngqulunga.

"He now has to satisfy himself that they are fit and proper persons to serve on the board and that they possess all the qualifications they claim to have.

"It should be recalled that we have had instances in the past in which there were misrepresentations about qualifications and other matters," he said.

ALSO READ: Zuma 'still considering' SABC board candidates despite interim term expiry

Ngqulunga was referring to disgraced former SABC chairperson Ellen Tshabalala, who was found by Parliament to have lied about her qualifications. She resigned before Zuma could fire her, as Parliament had recommended in December 2014. Tshabalala also served on Zuma’s Advisory Council on Broad-Based BEE.

It is up to Zuma to appoint one of the board members as chairperson.

Ngqulunga said the Presidency, working together with the Department of Communications, was undertaking standard checks to verify qualifications, security clearances and citizenship, among other things, before the appointments were made.

Widely praised

The candidates all underwent vetting as part of the portfolio committee on communications’ interview process.

The interim board, which consisted of five members, were recommended to Zuma by Parliament on March 15, and he appointed them 11 days later. The permanent board has 12 members.

The SABC’s annual report for 2016-17 was also tabled on Tuesday. It showed the public broadcaster had made a loss of R977m during the year.

READ HERE: SABC posts R977m loss

For large parts of the 2016/17 financial year, the SABC didn't have a full board, and from December 2016, there was no board at all. Former chairperson Obert Maguvhe resigned after a failed court bid to stop the ad hoc committee from investigating the board, and a gruelling interrogation before the committee.

After the ad hoc committee recommended that the previous board be disbanded, Parliament appointed the interim board of five members, led by Khanyisile Kweyama.

This board was widely praised for the way in which it turned the SABC around, and its members have all been nominated to the new permanent board.

Parliament adopted the board's recommendations on September 6.

The candidates for the board are Michael Markovitz, Khanyisile Kweyama, Mathatha Tsedu, Nomvuyiso Batyi, Rachel Kalidass, Victor Rambau, John Matisonn, Jack Phalane, Krish Naidoo, Febe Potgieter-Gqubule, Dinkanyane Mohuba and Bonbumusa Makhathini.

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