Vetting of four SABC Board candidates still outstanding: Maneli

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Parliament Communications Committee Chairperson Boyce Maneli says there are four SABC Board candidates who still have to be vetted. Maneli made the announcement when he closed the committee meeting during the deliberations on the SA Postbank Limited Amendment Bill.

Last week, the vetting of six candidates was outstanding. 34 shortlisted candidates were interviewed for board vacancies from September 13 to 16, 2022.

The Sub-Communications Committee could not deliberate on the 34 names to recommend the twelve most suitable candidates to serve on the SABC Board.  The delay was caused by the dysfunctional vetting system of the State Security Agency.

The delay saw some opposition parties and the SOS Support Public Broadcasting Coalition blaming the committee for the delay. However, progress has been made, but very slowly in vetting the candidates over the few weeks. 30 have now been vetted so far.

Maneli told committee members that the State Security Agency’s latest report reveals that the delay is at the South African Police Services.

Maneli says the SSA says it would make a follow-up with SAPS on Tuesday.

“We are still short of four people to be vetted and from the SSA side from the report we have,  is that their part is more delayed from the point of SAPS from a  fingerprints point of view, the .report that comes from that side. They were to make follow-ups again in the course of today. So, we are short of four candidates and which is something we thought it’s important that you consider candidates on a similar basis, that they have all been vetted.  We hope that once again that they should be able to complete that task”

SABC Board deliberations

Maneli says as soon as the vetting is concluded, the committee will prioritise the matter to start deliberations.

“Once we have (vetting completed) that as agreed by the committee we could be calling for a special session of the committee if it’s outside our slot. But just to say that from the Committee’s side we have kept the public informed of where things are and that at some times we also got enquiries and our response has been the same.

“We do it not because we want to be engaged in a public spat with the SSA or any other Department responsible, but ought to clarify that in the work of the committee we did what we could but we have to be patient in getting this report, and from that report, we should be able to conclude our part of the recommendations. So, when we convene we’ll be making recommendations on the names and motivation. So, let us hope that SAPS and SSA come back to us now on the four remaining candidates and that report on the vetting gets to be important on the people we are recommending sitting on this Board,” Maneli explains.

Parliament to interview remaining candidates for positions on the SABC board: Thandi Smith

‘It’s long overdue’

The Committee Chairperson conceded that the delay in finalising the parliamentary process of recommending a Board had an impact on the work of the committee.

He says the finalisation of the process is long overdue. “From where we are, that’s where things are honourable members.  So ( we are) only trying to push ourselves as much as we can, but we have dependencies that are not really in our control. That’s where we are, so we really hope that we can conclude this matter. It’s long overdue. And I’m sure South Africans understand that it’s beyond members of this committee, but we are dependent elsewhere,” Maneli concludes.

Once the Sub-Committee has concluded its deliberations, it will recommend the twelve best candidates to the Portfolio Committee, which will compile its report, adopt it and seek the final approval of the National Assembly.

President Cyril Ramaphosa can only appoint the new non-executive board after the Assembly has endorsed the recommended candidates for appointment. The SABC has been without a board for 24 days since 16 October. The previous board’s term ended on 15 October.