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Court curbs Mmamoloko Kubayi's powers at SABC

The newly-appointed SABC board will be better protected from ministerial interference thanks to a ground-breaking court judgment.

Mmamoloko Kubayi. Picture: @Energy_ZA/Twitter

PARLIAMENT - The newly-appointed South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) board will be better protected from ministerial interference thanks to a ground-breaking court judgment.

In a victory for lobby groups fighting for the independence of the public broadcaster, the Pretoria High Court decision will curb the powers of the Communications Minister when it comes to SABC board members.

The judgment was handed down on the same day that President Jacob Zuma appointed the broadcaster’s new board and named Mmamoloko Kubayi as the new Communications Minister, replacing Ayanda Dlodlo.

The judgment effectively limits the powers of the Communications Minister to appoint and suspend the SABC’s top three executives and clarifies under what circumstances a board member can be removed.

According to the high court, members of the SABC board no longer require approval from the minister to appoint the CEO, chief financial officer and COO.

Former minister Faith Muthambi gave herself the power to veto board decisions when she amended the broadcaster’s Memorandum of Incorporation.

She also relied on the Companies Act to endorse the sacking of board members, a move that undermined the Broadcasting Act, which is the primary legislation governing the SABC.

The Save our SABC (SOS) coalition took the matter to court arguing the minister’s powers hampered the independence of the board.

The organisation’s Duduetsang Makuse said: “This is the kind of judgement you wish for when you’re dealing with systemic structural issues that keep rearing their head.”

Newly-appointed minister Kubayi has told Eyewitness News she has yet to apply her mind to the judgment.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)

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