DA wants Zuma to appoint SABC board immediately

DA national spokesperson and Member of Parliament Phumzile van Damme. (Conrad Bornman, Gallo Images, Rapport)
DA national spokesperson and Member of Parliament Phumzile van Damme. (Conrad Bornman, Gallo Images, Rapport)

Cape Town – The DA has called on President Jacob Zuma to appoint the SABC board immediately.

This after the interim board's term expired on Tuesday, without Zuma bothering to appoint the board recommended to him by Parliament three weeks ago.

In a statement from the presidency on Tuesday, it said Zuma was "still applying his mind".

DA MP Phumzile van Damme said in a statement released on Wednesday the work of the permanent board is especially important in the wake of the SABC’s annual report for the 2016/17 financial year.

"The report paints a grim picture about the state of the SABC’s financial affairs," said Van Damme.

"The SABC's contingent liabilities currently stand at R956.7m, which the report flags as a major risk to the broadcaster. This is due to the corporation currently being embroiled in a number of lawsuits. This exorbitant amount could potentially cripple the already ailing SABC," she said.

Van Damme is also concerned about:

- Recorded losses of R997m after taxes;

- Fruitless and wasteful expenditure of R145.99m;

- Irregular expenditure of R4.4bn, of which R514.95m was due to procurement policies not being followed;

- Hlaudi Motsoeneng's bonus - R11.5m for 2016/17 financial year; and

- Total director and key personnel's compensation - R79.71m.

'Deserve to know the full scope'

"Thus, there cannot be any delays. President Zuma must appoint the board immediately to ensure that they get to work on restoring the SABC back to the world-class broadcaster it once was," said Van Damme.

Van Damme also wants the SABC and Communications Minister Ayanda Dlodlo to engage Parliament on the SABC’s financial recovery.

"In light of National Treasury's proposed R3bn bailout for the SABC, civil society and Parliament deserve to know the full scope of the SABC’s financial affairs and how this proposed bailout will turn things around for the embattled public broadcaster."

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

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

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

Parliament adopted the board 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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