SACP demands answers over delays in approving new SABC board

The party says South Africans should hold President Jacob Zuma liable for plunging the SABC into a governance vacuum.

FILE: The SABC headquarters in Johannesburg. Picture: Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG – The South African Communist Party (SACP) has demanded an explanation on the delay by the President to approve the new board at the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC).

The party says South Africans should hold President Jacob Zuma liable for plunging the SABC into a governance vacuum.

The party has called on the president to urgently approve the new board at the broadcaster which was recommended by Parliament.

At the same time, the Presidency has said it understands the urgency, but the president is still considering suitable candidates.

SACP’s spokesperson Alex Mashilo says they have no idea what is behind the delay.

“The SABC has experienced governance decay and is currently bankrupt. You can’t allow an institution of that magnitude to be without a governance authority.”

Meanwhile, the Presidency said there’s nothing suspicious about its meeting with senior editors from the SABC.

The Presidency has denied allegations that President Zuma summoned SABC news staff to his office as suggested by the Democratic Alliance (DA)’s shadow minister of communications Phumzile van Damme.

The president’s spokesperson Bongani Ngqulunga said he did meet with two senior news editors from the broadcaster as a courtesy call.

Van Damme has accused the timing of the meeting between the president’s spokesperson with the two SABC journalists as suspicious considering the broadcaster remains without a board.

But the Presidency says it understands the urgency at the SABC as the broadcaster continues to face many challenges.

Ngqulunga said: “The public broadcaster spoke quite clearly about the requirements for someone to serve on the board of the SABC... for instance, their knowledge of the broadcasting space.”

Ngqulunga said he meets with journalists all the time and it’s quite clear Van Damme got it wrong.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)