Negotiating one’s way through the minefield that is a Parliamentary Portfolio Committee is an art mastered only after many years in this business.
While expertise should, in my view, have been at the top of the “must have” register, during the selection of the SABC Board in Committee, the ANC predictably resorted to bean-counting in terms of gender, race, age and representation of the minorities.
All parties agreed that former Board member, Dr Renee Horne, should return, which would provide continuity.
However top of my list by far was the former SABC head of news, Phatiswa Magopeni. She scored full marks on my scorecard in her interview and while others were brilliant, such as Advocate Tseliso Thipanyane (an expert on the constitution) and former journalist Professor Franz Kruger, she was head and shoulders above the rest.
What was done to her in terms of her having been removed from a position she filled so well, and having been completely exonerated by the CCMA but not returned to the job, has always stuck in my craw. Well today a great wrong has been righted.
Also high on my list were Khathutshelo Ramukumba an internal audit specialist and Mpho Tsedu formerly a journalist of the SABC.
Some of the other Board members were a bit lower on my list, but will still contribute on the Board, such as arts expert Aifheli Makhwanya, and Rearabetsoe Motaung (former Competition Commission analyst.
Compromise candidates from my perspective were ANC favourite and former Board member David Maimela, and Magdalene Moonsamy (formerly ANC then EFF MP, and now seemingly back with the ANC).
It is interesting that there were former Board members and other candidates who didn’t make the cut – such as former Board members the controversial Mamodupi Mohlala-Mumaudzli, Prof Sathasivan Cooper and Jack Phalane, or others one might have imagined would be pushed for, such as Lumko Mtimde, and Thandeka Gqubule-Mbeki.
I’m most interested that former Board member Dinkwanyana Mohuba was put forward by both the ANC and the EFF – despite enormous issues in terms of a Doctorate degree that wasn’t, and his seemingly enforced from a departure from a Limpopo university. While he was found guilty, the matter is on appeal – and my questions as to what would be the process should his appeal fail, went unanswered. Equally, there was some controversy in relation to Nomvuyiso Bayti, and a possible conflict of interest.
On the whole the Board has expertise not only in broadcasting, but in other areas, too, and a steely determination to fix what is patently broken. Hopefully they will soon pull the CEO back from Qatar, and have conversations with the CFO, COO, HR managers and more on the top structure – all of whom have issues to answer for.