Failure to appoint new SABC Board unacceptable and a disgrace: COPE

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The five-year term of the SABC’s outgoing Board comes to an end on Saturday, and the Congress of the People (COPE) says the absence of an incoming Board to take the reins at the SABC presents a crisis for South Africa’s public broadcaster.

The party says parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Communications and Digital Technologies as well as the ministers responsible for the State Security Agency (SSA) and Communications in the country should take responsibility for the delay in recommending a new Board.

Spokesperson for COPE, Dennis Bloem, states that the delay is not just unacceptable but it is also a disgrace that the SSA’s vetting system was not sufficiently functional to be able to vet the 34 candidates who were interviewed for the now vacant SABC Board positions.

“COPE is extremely concerned with the unacceptable delay in the appointment of the new SABC Board because the State Security agency’s vetting system is dysfunctional. What a disgrace. We don’t accept that. The Minster, State Security Agency and Parliament’s Portfolio Committee need to account. We demand answers. The ANC government is failing the people of South Africa. They are more concerned about the ANC December conference,” says Bloem.

The spokesperson goes on further to add that the ruling party’s only concern at the moment is its upcoming  national conference in December, and says COPE suspects that politics are playing a major role in the ongoing delays to appoint a new board at the public broadcaster.

“The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee, Boyce Maneli, must hang his head in shame,” concluded Bloem.

Earlier in the week, lobby group, Support Public Broadcasting Coalition (SOS), expressed similar sentiments, blaming the Portfolio Committee on Communications for not commencing the process of appointing a new SABC Board on time to meet the 15 October term end. The lobby group also said it would condemn any attempt at appoint an interim board at the broadcaster as doing so would be unlawful due to outgoing board having been functional during its term.