The Democratic Alliance (DA) has criticised President Cyril Ramaphosa for the continuous delay in appointing the new SABC Board.
The public broadcaster has been without a board for three and a half months after the previous board’s term ended on the 15th of October last year.
The Parliamentary process of recommending the 12 most suitable candidates was concluded by the National Assembly in December. The 12 recommended names were sent to the President. Three additional names were also selected and approved in the event that some of the 12 candidates may fall off.
DA Member of Parliament’s Communications Portfolio Committee Dianne Kohler-Barnard says, “I have written to the President. I have done everything that an official opposition is able to do to underline to the President that this matter is urgent. However, the truth is that the longer the delay and it’s nearly four months now since the board expired on the 15th of October last year, the more the general public believes that this delay is deliberate. First the Communications Portfolio Committee left it until the last minute to interview candidates for the board. So that list only went to the National Assembly on the 6th of December and since then radio silence. I have been told the President’s office only asked for the CVs and the clearance certificates earlier this month and still we wait.”
Meanwhile, IFP Member of the Communications Committee Zandile Majozi says the party will raise the issue around the delay of appointing the SABC board, at the committee’s first meeting soon.
Majozi says the delay is having an impact on the functioning of the public broadcaster.
“As the IFP, we are deeply concerned about the delay in the appointment of the SABC board. We know that the entity has a lot of problems and it needs leadership to make sure that everything goes accordingly to plan, especially financially with making sure that thy reduce irregularities. But now with the delaying, the President’s office we don’t know what’s happening, because we have done everything transparently and followed the process. The only thing we are waiting for the President to appoint.”
Delay can cause reversal of positive strides
The SOS Support Public Broadcasting Coalition has reiterated its call for President Cyril Ramaphosa to expedite the appointment of the incoming SABC Board. The Coalition says the vacuum created by the delay could reverse some of the positive strides that have been taken by the previous board to improve the running of the Public Broadcaster.
SOS Coalition National Co-ordinator Uyanda Siyotula it’s not good enough for the SABC to be run without an accounting authority.
“It’s quite worrisome that there is no board at the SABC and I mean the President has been sitting with the names for 43 days. 43 days there is no appointment of the board, there is no indication as to when the board will be appointed. I also would like to urge the President to take into consideration the importance of this institution in deepening our democracy and ensure that the SABC Board becomes a priority among the list of things he has to do. I know he has indicated that there have been objections to a couple of names. Yes, it is within his right to seek legal opinion but that legal opinion cannot take 43 days.”