The fate of the SABC immediately relies on the remaining four board members doing the right thing and resigning. This was after two board members told MPs in a session that was publicly broadcast they couldn’t do it any more and tendered their resignations.
The SABC board was dysfunctional and their opinions were clearly not needed, Krish Naidoo and Vusi Mavuso said. Naidoo then called the presentation by the board chairperson on the public protector’s report and its recommendation “amateurish”.
To this end he understood why the board had to be dissolved and subsequently resigned. Mavuso was right behind him. He said decisions made even yesterday morning were done so without his go-ahead.
“We are not following due process and seemingly a particular picture is beginning to emerge and it’s actually worrying me and I cannot afford to be party to that … seemingly my contributions are not adding much value … [I] tender my resignation,” Mavuso said.
All MPs agreed the board had to be dissolved and an interim one appointed. But after a lengthy portfolio committee on communications meeting yesterday, MPs erred on the side of legal caution that the board – what was left of it – could not be dissolved pending a parliamentary inquiry.
The Speaker of the National Assembly also had to sign it off. But it could take up to four years for an inquiry into the competency of the board to be completed.
Democratic Alliance MP James Selfe, the Economic Freedom Fighters’ Floyd Shivambu and Inkatha Freedom Party member Liezel van der Merwe, with little objection from the ANC, called for the remaining board members to resign to speed up the appointment of an interim board.
Shivambu said the ongoing situation at the SABC smacked of a soap opera. “We must not tip-toe around a clumsy board … with a lousy presentation. The time of games has to come to an end.
“This is not Generations,” he said, adding that acting roles of the CEO and chief operating officer had to come to an end.
The SABC has repeatedly lost money and been dogged by controversy. When the board is dissolved it will be the third time since 2012 that parliament has lost faith in members that oversee it.
The latest scandal has been the reappointment of the former chief operating officer, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, as head of corporate affairs. Acting CEO James Aguma and the chairperson of the national broadcaster were adamant there was nothing untoward about Motsoeneng assuming another executive position.
The pair disagreed that a high court judgment that was upheld by the Supreme Court of Appeal that ruled Motsoeneng could not be considered as an employee could be interpreted differently.
The courts had ruled Motsoeneng’s appointment was invalid for several reasons, including that he had not obtained matric.