Parliament’s Communications Committee has begun interviews into prospective candidates to serve on the South African Broadcasting Corporation Board (SABC).

The three-day process began with threats of legal action to stop the process.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) is demanding the shortlist of candidates include someone from labour.

The committee is now seeking legal advice on Cosatu’s legal threat.

Day one of the interviews consisted of seven candidates on the hot seat. Candidates were grilled about their plans to create financial sustainability in the public broadcaster.

Jasmine Patel was the first candidate to be interviewed. She faced tough questions from members of Parliament on what she thinks are the reasons that the SABC board hardly finishes its term, is either dissolved or some members resign.

Patel says she thinks Board members get overwhelmed with challenges the broadcaster is facing. “I think it would have to do as it did in the past with Ministerial interference in the sense that the Minister of Communication or the shareholder interferes in the roles and responsibilities of board members arising in conflict and they have no option but to resign in order to protect their reputation.”

Others include:

  • Adv. Mzwakhe Mofokeng promises to bring technologies to switch TV set of people who don’t pay TV licenses.
  •  Nkosana Mbokane talks about the benefit of hindsight as he had no information at the time.
  • Adv. Benjamin Lekalakala says will implement the prescripts of the law.

The committee has made it clear that it wants people of character and integrity and some candidates had their past work experiences questioned.

One of the candidates was quizzed about alleged corruption that he allegedly presided over in the City of Ekurhuleni.

Another candidate was grilled about his African National Congress links as well as an article he penned defending former SABC Chief Operations Officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng, former Eskom Chief Executive Officer Brian Molefe and former South African Revenue Services boss Tom Moyane.

The committee is expected to deliberate on the candidates that will be recommended next week. A report will then be tabled in the National Assembly before Parliament rises on 20 March.