It is now official, from Sunday the SABC does not have a board.
This comes as the non-executive board’s term ended on Saturday. The process of recommending and appointing a new board is not yet finalised, as deliberations on the 34 candidates who were interviewed have been delayed.
The delay was caused by the State Security Agency which has only started vetting candidates recently. Parliament’s Communications Committee has been blamed for the delay by some political parties and the Support Public Broadcasting Coalition (SOS).
From this point the highest authority and decision-making lies in the hands of the CEO, CFO and the COO, and some decisions that require board approval cannot be implemented until the new 12-member non-executive board has been appointed.
The Committee Chairperson Boyce Maneli says the parliamentary process to recommend a new board is expected to be concluded by the end of this month, or the latest at the beginning of November. However, once the National Assembly as approved the recommendation to appoint a new board, President Cyril Ramaphosa will have the final say. It will be up to the President on how soon the new board will be appointed.
Appointment of interim board is not an option
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.