SABC Board vacancies: Deal with legal opinion first - Gavin Davis

DA MP says ANC majority on communications committee now wants to re-advertise for the two positions

SABC Board: Deal with legal opinion and then re-advertise

2 June 2015

At a meeting of the Communications sub-committee today, the majority party pushed through a proposal to re-advertise two SABC Board vacancies that arose as a result of the resignations of Thembinkosi Bonakele and Bongani Khumalo.

This is a U-turn from last week when ANC MPs argued against the re-advertising of the two vacancies. It is not clear what has happened in the past week to change their minds.

The DA’s position on the matter has been consistent from the outset:

1. The poor response to the advertisement for these two positions on the Board is cause for concern.

2. The pool of candidates was below par in terms of quantity: only 23 candidates applied for the two positions compared to the 97 who applied earlier in the year to fill one position.

3. The pool of candidates was below par in terms of quality: there were very few candidates with any background in broadcasting.

4. The pool of candidates was weak because potential board members are not applying for fear of being arbitrarily and unlawfully removed, as was the case with Ronnie Lubisi, Rachel Kalidass and Hope Zinde.

5. The immediate reinstatement of these three board members is crucial to send out a signal to potential candidates that there is security of tenure on the SABC Board.

In other words, it only makes sense to re-advertise for the two positions vacated by Khumalo and Bonakele once the Portfolio Committee has acted on Parliament’s legal opinion and reinstated Lubisi, Kalidass and Zinde. If we re-advertise without doing this, the Committee is likely to receive another batch of below-par applications, and the process to appoint new board members will be stalled yet again. 

To this end, the DA has today written to the Chairperson of the Communications Portfolio Committee, Joyce Moloi-Moropa, to request that the Committee deals urgently with the legal opinion before embarking on the process to re-advertise. 

Statement issued by Gavin Davis MP, DA Shadow Minister of Communications, June 2 2015