ANC, opposition groups at odds over SABC board

Communications Minister Dina Pule has welcomed an interim fix to SABC’s empty board.

Communications Minister Dina Pule. Picture: GCIS

CAPE TOWN - Department of Communications Minister Dina Pule on Tuesday welcomed Parliament's recommendation to appoint a five-member interim board to restore stability at the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC).

The public broadcaster was left without a functioning governing body after a series of resignations.

Parliament's portfolio committee on communications decided to dissolve the board and five names will now be recommended to President Jacob Zuma to be appointed to the interim body.

The decision was conveyed to the National Assembly.

On Monday, Zuma's office announced that he had accepted the resignations of chairperson Ben Ngubane, his deputy and six others.

Earlier, it emerged that Pippa Green also tendered her resignation, effectively leaving just two people on the board.

Pule said she is happy with the committee's decision.

"I want to believe the names were collectively proposed by the committee. My take is that there is a good combination of names."

However, opposition parties and civil society groups are concerned about the haste with which the candidates for the interim board were chosen. During a heated meeting several people were nominated as candidates to serve on the interim body without being vetted.

Democratic Alliance (DA) member of Parliament Marian Shinn labelled it as a "rushed, non-transparent and inadequate affair".

The SOS Support Public Broadcasting Coalition's Sekoetlane Phamodi said it would question the "process followed" by government and Parliament.

"We're not entirely convinced due process has been followed and we'll be investigating further into whether it actually was," said Phamodi.

But the African National Congress (ANC) has defended the manner in which the board was dissolved. It said the process was not bulldozed through Parliament.

The ANC's Greg Schneemann disagreed: "We are confident that the names which are before the house today have the requisite experience to perform the task they are being asked to perform."

Five names will be given to the president for appointment to the interim board.

Ellen Tshabalala has been nominated to serve as chairperson.

The ANC said she has extensive experience in banking, strategic development, international and business investments.