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Political-meddling the cause of the SABC crisis - Marian Shinn

DA MP says unless such interference stops public broadcaster will remain on path to self destruction

Political-meddling the cause of crisis at the SABC

Note to editors: This is a declaration that was delivered by DA Shadow Minister of Communications, Marian Shinn MP, today in the National Assembly.

The cause of the perpetual crisis of the SABC is political interference in appointments to both the board and executive management. Credible South Africans who may want to contribute to the formation of a vibrant, world class public broadcaster are now scarred and embittered people. 

Many of them resigned in disgust at the political machinations that colour most critical decisions. 

Those I spoke to yesterday said that until the laws are changed to prevent political oversight and interference nothing would change to save the corporation from the destructive path it is on.

The process the portfolio committee embarked on today to dissolve the board was bull-dozed through the committee by the ANC. 

While we recognize there is a crisis of governability at the SABC, the whole process of dissolving the board and appointing an interim one reeked of ANC opportunism. This process has effectively short-circuited legitimate nomination processes to find suitable candidates.

It is little more than 24 hours since South Africa learned that six more board members had resignedly to neutralize what was left of a crippled board. Had President Zuma acted decisively when the chair and his deputy resigned 10 days ago this crisis could have been avoided. 

Instead, we have ended up with a process that is characterised by ulterior motives, possibly the installation of a new crop of ANC cronies to do Luthuli House's bidding at Fawlty Towers. 

Because the DA believes that political parties should have no role in nominating candidates for the SABC we declined to take part in the listing process that is the norm in the committee's horse-trading in deciding the composition of entity's boards.

This interim board must be seen for what it is, a rushed, non-transparent and inadequate affair. While we do not support this process by which this board was chosen we wish them well in the Sisyphean task of getting the SABC operational until a properly nominated and elected board can be appointed. 

The DA will do everything possible to help ensure that this happens as soon as possible.

Statement issued by Marian Shinn MP, DA Shadow Minister of Communications, March 19 2013

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