DA considers court action to reinstate fired SABC board members

The party says the only way to challenge the decision to remove three board members is through the courts.

The SABC headquarters in Johannesburg. Picture: AFP

CAPE TOWN - The Democratic Alliance on Tuesday said the only way left to challenge the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) board's decision to remove three of its own is through the courts.

The party is considering its options after Communications Minister Faith Muthambi on Tuesday rejected Parliament's legal opinion that the board's actions were unlawful because it goes against the Broadcasting Act.

Muthambi said the board is empowered by the Companies Act to remove any of its members, adding it's not Parliament's place to tell the executive what laws it can and cannot use.

The minister said Parliament's legal opinion is wrong.

".. And I'm still saying the author made a wrong assumption of law by concluding the provisions of Section 15 (1) (a) of the Broadcasting Act are in conflict with Section 71 of the Companies Act."

African National Congress (ANC) Members of Parliament (MPs) on the Communications portfolio committee agreed with her and have put the issue to rest.

But opposition members objected.

The DA's Gavin Davis said, "We should write, the assistance of our legal unit, to the chairperson of the board, notifying him that the removal of these board members was illegal and that they must be immediately reinstated. And that the failure to reinstate these board members will result in court action, that is what we should be doing."

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) said the ANC has once more turned its back on the rule of law.

6 VACANCIES

Civil society organisation the SOS Coalition says Parliament was derelict in its duties by accepting the SABC board's decision.

The SOS Support Public Broadcasting Coalition's Sekoetlane Phamodi says Muthambi's reading of the law is wrong.

"We just need to finalise matters with our legal council and then we'll decide whether we do pursue this matter to court or find a resolution through some other means."

Davis says the board, which is scheduled to meet tomorrow, doesn't have enough members to take lawful decisions.

"For example, they're dealing with the structure of the annual report which will be tabled in Parliament in a few months and more importantly, they're dealing with the appointment of an acting CEO and acting CFO."

There are currently 6 vacancies on the board.