Parly’s Communications Committee hopes new SABC Board will be appointed ‘within time’

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Parliament’s Communications and Digital Technologies Committee says it wants to see a smooth transition from the current SABC Board to the new one by having the new board appointed on time.

The Public Broadcaster’s current Non-Executive Board has less than two months left as their five-year term officially comes to an end on 15 October.

Committee Chairperson Boyce Maneli says the process of searching for the next board is currently at a stage where Parliament’s administrative support services is capturing all the information before it could be presented to the committee. The closing date for nominations was 6 August 2022. Maneli says now that Parliament is fully back in session, the committee process is expected to start soon:

“ We already have got a draft programme for a sub-committee which is due to be presented to the Portfolio Committee. And once that is done then the subcommittee will immediately kick in,  in getting the processes under way. We still are committed to ensure that we appoint the board within time, from the side of Parliament, so as to give space that the appointments could be done before the actual expiry in October, as we do not intend to have interim measures. We would really want to see a smooth transition from the current board to the new board”

 Committee non committal on retaining some current boards members

When asked whether the Committee would consider retaining some current board members or not, Maneli responded.

“No, I’m sure you would understand that, that question would be a bit unfair for a process that is transparent where you would expect that people would apply and have a fair chance like any other person in an interview. I think what is important is, we can confirm to South Africans would be that it is the intention of the committee to appoint (recommend) the best South Africans that present themselves before the committee, who would have a vision to take the Public Broadcaster to another level.”

However, it would only become clear whether some current board members have been re-nominated or applied to serve in the next board, once the list of nominations has been published by Parliament. The Committee Chairperson also emphasised that the appointment of the new board can only be fast tracked by the appointing authority which is vested in the President.

“From where we are if everything goes accordingly, from the side of Parliament we would be able to meet our deadline as you should know, the appointments are subject to another level of appointment and we do take it that everybody takes the SABC quite seriously and therefore those appointments would be fast tracked as such to meet the deadline set,” Maneli concluded.

The new board will only be appointed by the President after the National Assembly has approved the Portfolio Committee’s recommendation of the 12 successful candidates, following a rigorous shortlisting and interviewing process.

The current 12 Non-Executive members are Board Chairperson Bongumusa Makhathini, Deputy Chairperson Mamodupi Mohlala-Mulaudzi, Professor Sathsivan Cooper, Advocate Benjamin Motshedi Lekalakala, David Maimela, Michael Markovitz, Dinkwanyane Mohuba, Bernedette Muthien, Jasmina Patel, Jack Phalane, Mary Papayya and Dr Marcia Socikwa.

Eight board members only serving for three years and six months

Eight of the current board members were appointed in April 2019 to fill positions left vacant by various board members who resigned.

The eight are Papayya, Patel, Socikwa, Mulaudzi-Mohlala, Muthien, Lekalakala, Cooper and David Maimela who would have served for only three and a half years when the board’s term ends in October. They were appointed to serve the remainder of the five year term of a board that was appointed in 2017 by former President Jacob Zuma.

“President Cyril Ramaphosa has appointed eight new board members to fill the vacancies on the board of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) with immediate effect. The new members of the board will serve the unexpired term of office of the members who resigned from the SABC Board, which will expire on 15 October 2022. In terms of Section 13 of the Broadcasting Act (Act 4 of 1999), non-executive members of the SABC Board must be appointed by the President on the advice of the National Assembly following a process of public participation in the nomination and transparency and openness in the selection,” said former Presidential Spokesperson Khusela Diko in a statement on 12 April 2019.

Below are the interviews for board members in 2017: