Minister pressured to reinstate SABC board members

The SABC board axed three non-executive members in March.

FILE: Department of Communications Minister Faith Muthambi. Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN - Communications Minister Faith Muthambi will be called to Parliament to respond to legal opinion that says it is wrong for the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) board to remove any of its members.

Members of Parliament on the Communications Portfolio Committee asked for legal advice after the public broadcaster's board decided to axe three non-executive members in March.

Muthambi endorsed the removals which she said were in line with the Companies Act.

Parliament's legal services office told MPs any removal of an SABC board member that is not in line with the provisions of the Broadcasting Act is invalid and unlawful.

Gavin Davis, Democratic Alliance MP and member of the committee suggested it write to the three board members who were dismissed and tell them to return to work.

"Because that is the outome of this legal opinion, the removal was unlawful and they should be allowed to go back to work."

But the Committee chairperson dismissed his proposal. Economic Freedom Fighters MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi welcomed the legal opinion.

"I think we can demand concretely that all those members were unlawfully removed and they must be reinstated."

The majority of the MPs resolved to call Muthambi to respond to the legal opinion.

The Broadcasting Act provides two separate processes for the removal of a board member; in both cases the president has to remove the member.