While Communications Minister Ayanda Dlodlo agreed with DA shadow minister of communications Phumzile van Damme that the constitution is clear on the process of appointing SABC board members, she insisted that the outgoing interim board was “incorrect” in using the SABC charter to proceed with the recruitment of senior executives without consulting her.
Dlodlo told parliament yesterday that whereas she had her reservations about a request to her to conduct a verification of the qualifications of the 12 candidates currently waiting for confirmation for appointment as SABC board members from President Jacob Zuma, she understood that even those with post-matric qualifications had to produce a matric certificate if they professed to have it.
Less-than-convinced MPs reminded her this was a duplication, as parliament conducted the same exercise. Dlodlo argued she was simply carrying out instructions from the Union Buildings.
She denied speculation that she had undermined the interim board’s powers in an expedient exercise to appease the ANC’s deployment committee demands.
“All parties have deployees, including the DA. I am ultimately responsible as the minister because when things go wrong, I am held accountable,” Dlodlo said when responding to concerns raised by the City Press that the real reason she rejected the candidates recommended to her for the positions of CEO, COO and CFO was because the ANC found them objectionable.
“I had to be circumspect when considering the SABC senior management appointments … some [of the proposed candidates] had no executive level experience. You find that some of them were newsreaders. For this positions you need people with television and radio broadcasting experience at a certain level. I don’t want to malign the candidates, but I am trying to be a good minister to all the entities in the department,” Dlodlo told communications committee members.
Former Ekurhuleni executive mayor and committee member Mondli Gungubele cautioned the minister and the committee to desist from assessing candidates.
Van Damme will not accept the caution, and said the minister ought to take the committee into her confidence and explain the delay, as the impression has been created that she rejected the interim committee’s candidates because she was instructed by the ANC deployment committee on who to employ.
Dlodlo also denied concerns raised by the “SABC 8” that there was a “recapture” process under way at the public broadcaster, and this renewed effort would be accelerated by the absence of directors.
MPs on the committee found themselves in a quandary, having been forced to hold the acting executive to account on issues that should be addressed by board members.
Last week the South African Qualifications (SAQA) confirmed it had provided the verification outcomes on the candidates within two days as required. This was after media reports alleged the body was frustrating the process to appoint the new board by taking an unacceptably long time to provide the results.
Dlodlo assured members she had no interested in meddling in operational matters of the SABC.
She said once the new board has been inaugurated, she would work with them using the Memorandum of Incorporation (MOI) filed in 2014 to ensure there is a new executive management at Auckland Park by January 2018.