DOCUMENTS

Muthambi took 9 months to notify Presidency of SABC board member's resignation - Gavin Davis

DA MP says weakening of the Board certainly plays into minister's hands as she continues to exert ministerial power over the public broadcaster

Further evidence of Muthambi's manipulation of the SABC emerges

14 April 2015

In reply to a parliamentary question, the Presidency has revealed that it took Minister Muthambi 9 months to notify it of the resignation of former SABC Board Member, Thembinkosi Bonakele.

Mr Bonakele, according to news reports, resigned from the SABC during July 2014 to take up a position at the Competition Commission. Yet, according to the Presidency, Minister Muthambi only informed it of Mr Bonakele's resignation on 26 March 2015.

It is not clear whether the Minister's failure to notify the Presidency of Mr Bonakele's resignation was a result of bungling, or whether there is a more sinister motive. But the recent purge of three other board members suggests that anything is possible.

Minister Muthambi has made ominous noises about reducing the number of SABC Board Members and increasing her own powers over the Board. By not processing this resignation until now, the Minister is reinforcing the perception that she is manipulating the Board to suit her own agenda.

Minster Muthambi owes South Africa an explanation for her failure to notify the Presidency of this resignation.

I have also written to the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Communications, Joyce Moloi-Moropa, to request that she furnishes the Committee with a copy of a legal opinion into the removal of Hope Zinde, Rachel Kalidass and Ronnie Lubisi from the SABC Board.

It was reported on Sunday that Ms. Moloi-Moropa has submitted a copy of the legal opinion to the Speaker's Office for further action. It is my contention, however, that it is for the Committee to deliberate over the legal opinion so that we may take a collective decision into the best course of action to pursue.

The removal of Kalidass, Lubisi and Zinde and the resignations of Bonakele, Bongani Khumalo and Ellen Tshabalala have left the SABC Board barely quorate and without a Chairperson. This weakening of the Board certainly plays into Minister Muthambi's hands as she continues to exert ministerial power over the public broadcaster.

We have said from the beginning that the new Communications Department was set up to turn the SABC into a state broadcaster. The DA will continue to do everything in its power to expose this sinister agenda.

Text of reply:

NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

QUESTION FOR WRITTEN REPLY

QUESTION NUMBER: 568

568. Mr G R Davis (DA) to ask the Minister in The Presidency:

Has the Office of The Presidency received notices of resignation from two SA Broadcasting Corporation Board members (notices furnished); if so, (a) when was the Office of The Presidency made aware of each resignation and (b) why has the Office of the Presidency not notified the National Assembly of each resignation? NW648E

REPLY:

The Presidency did receive the resignation letters by the two SABC board members. The two SABC board members forwarded their resignation letters to the Minister of Communications. The Presidency became aware of the resignation by the two SABC board members through the Minister of Communications. The resignation by Prof. Bongani Khumalo was brought to the attention of The Presidency on 26 January 2015., while the resignation by Mr Tembinkosi Bonakele was brought to the attention of The Presidency on 26 March 2015.

The Broadcasting Act, 1999 does not require the President to inform Parliament about the resignation by the SABC board members.

However, on 27 March 2015 the President requested the National Assembly to initiate a process to fill the vacancies that have occurred on the SABC Board as a result of the resignation of Advocate Tembinkosi Bonakale and Professor Bongani Khumalo.

ENDS

Statement issued by Gavin Davis MP, DA Shadow Minister of Communications, April 14 2015