DA urges Ramaphosa to immediately appointment SABC board

Issued by Dianne Kohler Barnard MP – DA Shadow Minister of Communications
19 Jan 2023 in News

Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Dianne Kohler Barnard MP.

This country’s only public broadcaster, the SABC, has been without a board since the 15th October 2022 when the previous board’s five-year tenure expired.

This has left the Broadcaster in the hands just three people namely the CEO, CFO and COO while there are  crucial decisions that require Board approval as well as required oversight by the Board over the SABC.

The SABC is sinking under the weight of major financial problems, with the Auditor General finding that irregular expenditure sits at almost R5 billion. According to the Auditor General no officials have faced sanctions despite the Minister’s claims that 16 supply chain management officials are being ‘disciplined’.

If the SABC is to survive in its current state, a new Board must be appointed immediately.

There is a belief that the SABC once again operates as a State Broadcaster, used to promote an ANC agenda.

A central tenet of the SABC’s Charter is that it enjoys freedom of expression and journalistic, creative and programming independence. The SABC Board is mandated explicitly to protect that freedom and independence.

The elephant in the room is that not only did government and Communications Portfolio Committee know exactly on what day the SABC Board’s term would expire and that they needed to prioritise the appointment of the new board before then, but dithered until an unseemly last-minute rush finally saw the Board approved unanimously on the 6th of December in the National Assembly.

The names were given immediately to President Ramaphosa for approval and absolutely nothing has happened since then.  The SABC has now been without a board for nearly four months.

It was only at the start of this new year that the Presidency requested the CVs and clearance certificates of the proposed Board members – but since then, radio silence.

When queried about this, the Presidency stated that the names of the board candidates could not yet be gazetted due to the closure of government printers.

Mr. President, the Government printers have long since reopened, but still no Board has been appointed. Why did you wait another month before asking for the CVs and the Clearance Certificates?

We have written today to the President to inquire as to why the candidates have not yet been appointed.

If our requests are simply ignored, as they have been in the past, the DA will be forced to make contact with legal professionals to investigate appropriate legal remedies.