President Jacob Zuma and Communications Minister Ayanda Dlodlo have been accused of deliberately delaying the appointment of the SABC board to make their own chief operating officer (COO), chief executive officer (CEO) and chief financial officer (CFO) appointments.
This without the board’s input.
City Press is reporting that Dlodlo and the now defunct interim board, headed by Khanyisile Kweyama, fought over the recommended names for these positions.
Interviews for the positions were completed by the interim board in August, but Dlodlo allegedly insisted on being given the initial short list that the board had drawn up.
Board members reportedly refused to give her the names, accusing the minister of “changing goalposts” and “making impossible demands”.
They said at the time of the interviews that they hoped the three positions would be filled in before their term expired, further saying the candidates for the positions had impressive CVs and qualifications.
The appointments are yet to be made, but Dlodlo has been accused of wanting to pick her preferred candidates, while the ANC’s deployment committee also wants to have a say in the appointments.
Five members of the interim board have now been brought back to the list of those who will be involved in finalising the appointments when the new board convenes, and sources who spoke to City Press allege this is the reason the president is delaying the signing off of the board.
In a statement late last month, Zuma’s spokesperson Dr Bongani Ngqulunga said Zuma had “to satisfy himself that they are fit and proper persons to serve on the board, and that they possess all the qualifications they claim to have”.
“The Presidency, working together with the Department of Communications, is undertaking checks, verifying qualifications, security clearance and citizenship, among others – before the appointments were (sic) made,” he said, after missing the deadline to appoint the board.
According to the Broadcasting Act, the president has no say in the selection process of the corporation’s board members, he only has to officially appoint 12 non-executives, but Zuma is also allegedly stuck on who to appoint as board chairperson and deputy.
A senior source at the public broadcaster, who spoke to the publication, claimed that the president was worried about having lost control of the SABC newsroom during the time of the interim board, and “wanted those appointed to the three top positions to provide their direct line to the newsroom”.
In her defense, the communications minister told the publication that she was not happy with the recommended candidates, saying she wanted “people with experience and expertise”.
“But most importantly, she wants people with the ability and proven experience to turn around organisations. She wants people that will turn around the SABC.
“Unfortunately, the candidates that she has come across in that process so far do not meet those criteria,” Dlodlo’s spokesperson, Mava Scott, was quoted as saying.
The minister was apparently unhappy with the whole process after the board failed to submit job profiles for her approval before advertising the jobs.
Presidential spokesperson Bongani Ngqulunga said there was “no truth in any of the allegations” that the appointment of the board was being deliberately delayed.
“The line function in the department of communications was still collating information, and this was submitted by end of business on Friday,” he said.
“The appointments can now be finalised. Even the SA Qualifications Authority confirmed publicly that it had submitted proof of qualifications on Thursday, within the deadline set by the communications department.
“The president has no interest or involvement in the appointment of SABC executives,” he was quoted as saying by the publication.