The South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) says it is concerned that the public broadcaster remains without a board despite Parliament’s recommendation of qualified candidates.
The names of the 12 candidates and an additional three names were approved in the National Assembly in December last year and sent to President Cyril Ramaphosa to appoint 12 board members.
Ramaphosa sent a letter back to the Assembly to seek legal clarity on the additional names that were approved by the House.
Media interest groups, the SOS Coalition and Media Monitoring Africa, filed an urgent application in the Constitutional Court over the now five-month delay.
But no date has yet been set.
Parliament’s Communications Committee mulls over SABC Board predicament:
The previous SABC Board’s term ended on 15 October 2022. SANEF says the SABC being without a board, poses a threat to the public broadcaster’s operations, among the other essential obligations that require the board’s approval and governance processes.
It says it has also noted reports that the former Communications Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni had contributed to the delay after questioning the inclusion of former head of news, Phatiswa Magopeni on that list.
“The starting point is really about the importance of the SABC and its role in society. Fundamentally we also understand the importance of the board is in so as SABC, the Broadcasting Act is clear on the role of the board in terms of the board being in control of the affairs of the SABC. So you can imagine if for months SABC is sitting without a board even despite the National Assembly has done due diligence in terms of the recommendations to the President,” says Sbu Ngalwa, SANEF’s chair.
“As the SOS coalition we raised a number of concerns about the process and few candidates recommended. Our concerns were not taken into consideration. However, we see when the minister raised concerns they are taken into account. It’s unfortunate five months later there is no board I have no idea why. I never thought we’d get here. The process was in its stages of conclusion,” says Uyanda Siyotula, SOS coalition.