An interim board is an option until the process of appointing the new permanent board is finalised. The State Security Agency (SSA) has caused the delay because its vetting system is not working.
The delay has stalled the Sub-Committee of Parliament’s Communications Committee’s deliberations on the 34 board candidates to choose the 12 non-executive board members from.
An SABC Interim Board is appointed in terms of the Broadcasting Act.
The portfolio committee has to choose five suitable persons and recommend them to the National Assembly (NA) for final approval before they can be appointed by the president.
The president has to appoint the interim board within 10 days after receiving the assembly’s recommendation. The five-member interim board is appointed to serve for a maximum of six months.
Last week, Committee Chairperson Boyce Maneli said the appointment of an interim board was not preferable. However, he said the committee would engage with the appointing authority, who is the president, on the way forward if there is a delay.
Earlier this last month, the shortlisted candidates were grilled about the broadcaster’s finances, last year’s retrenchment process, and the sacking of former Group Executive of News and Current Affairs, Phathiswa Magopeni.
Deputy Chairperson of the Board, Mamodupi Mohlala-Mulaudzi, was asked about a forensic report at the Property Practitioners Regulatory Authority that had damning findings against her, as well as allegations that she had moonlighted for a telecommunications company while working at the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa).
She responded by saying, “These allegations are highly improper. I will write to the HRC (Human Rights Commission) and Gender Commission as a black woman executive that’s being treated differently. Even people on that board have findings against them and it has never been made public. In my case, it’s worse because I was not given the opportunity to respond.”
Another current member of the board, David Maimela, defended the retrenchment of more than 600 staffers last year, while close to 400 posts are now being advertised.
“I still think this was a rational decision. Many people misunderstand this but you can retrench and advertise again because its new operating model needs new skills, nothing wrong. It helps you to be more agile, more capable, understand the industry better and compete better,” says Maimela.
However, judging the success of the retrenchment process needs more time, according to Jack Phalane.
“Our expenses are high, the biggest cost was salaries. After retrenchments, it’s key to say we have the structure we believe is good. For me, now it’s implementation time. It makes no sense to release experienced people and then replace them with people who don’t know what they’re doing. Are people we have doing what they are supposed to be doing?” asks Phalane.
After concluding the process of interviews, the names of the successful candidates will be tabled in parliament and then sent to the president for an appointment.
VIDEO: The Portfolio Committee on Communications continues with interviews for SABC Board members on September 16, 2022: