Build One South Africa Leader Maimane slams absence of SABC Board

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Build One South Africa (BOSA)  Leader Mmusi Maimane says the absence of an SABC Board as an oversight structure could lead to abuse in the corporation. Maimane blames the national legislature, the Communications Committee and the Ministry for creating the vacuum.

This comes as the SABC is officially without a board after the five-year term of the previous one ended on Saturday. The incoming board could not take over on Sunday as the parliamentary process of recommending a new board for appointment has been stalled.

The Sub-Communications Committee’s deliberations were hampered by the State Security Agency’s delay in the vetting of the 34 candidates who were interviewed.

The highest authority and decision-making in the SABC is now in the hands of the CEO, CFO and COO until a new board is appointed.

Maimane says Parliament should act speedily.

“South Africa has again been failed by a Parliament, a Portfolio Committee and Ministry of Communications that has failed the SABC. It’s crucial that we maintain oversight in an entity that has been struggling to ensure that we fulfil the turnaround plan and ensure that the SABC can continue to provide services to the people of this country. Ultimately, in the absence of oversight it leads to an abuse in the institution. I would urge Parliament to urgently convene and finalise, vet and ensure that a board is instated at the SABC as a matter of urgency. This is crucial to ensure that the public broadcaster fulfils its public mandate,” says Maimane.

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Appointment of interim board is not an option

Parliament Communications Committee chairperson Boyce Maneli has stated that an Interim SABC board is not an option, informing that both the Public Broadcasting Act and the Companies Act do not make provision if the board’s term has expired.

He says this is the advice that was provided by Parliament’s Legal Services.

The Broadcasting Act makes provision for the recommendation and appointment of a five-member non-executive interim board, only after an inquiry of an existing board or after it has been dissolved. An interim board is appointed for a period not exceeding six months.

“We also have it from legal authorities in Parliament that indeed the board is coming to an end and there is no interim resolution to the board. They [legal team] looked at both the Broadcasting Act as well as the Companies Act and there would have been no provision in the Companies Act, and there would have not been a provision that talks to interim board in the case of expiry. If I have to quote them well, it [the Broadcasting Act] is ‘silent on the matter’,” explains Maneli.