DA shadow minister of communications and digital technologies Phumzile Van Damme has spearheaded a probe for clarity around the alleged resignation of SABC board member Bernadette Muthien who according to the party resigned last month from the broadcaster, without a word sent to the Committee of Communications and Digital Technologies.
The party will request reasons for Muthien’s alleged resignation after the party was reliably informed that both President Cyril Ramaphosa and Communications and Digital Technologies Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams were aware of the alleged resignation.
The party claims the minister who ordinarily informs parliament of resignations did not inform the Committee of Communications and Digital Technologies.
In a statement, the party said: “In terms of the Broadcasting Act, parliament is not only the body the SABC reports to, but it also appoints and can remove board members from the public broadcaster. That it has not been informed of Ms Muthien’s resignation is yet another example of the disdain for Parliament Minister Ndabeni-Abrahams has been displaying of late.
“It is unclear what the reasons for Muthien’s resignation are, and the DA will be requesting that she be invited for an exit interview to disclose whether there are any matters that parliament needs to be aware of that may have caused her resignation.
“History has shown that once resignations from the SABC board begin, it usually means the beginning of strife at the public broadcaster. The DA will not stand by if there are any indications that the SABC may once again [plunge] into crisis. If steps can be taken to prevent this, it needs to happen early.”
In March last year, eight candidates cracked the nod from Parliament to join the SABC’s board after Cabinet approved a report by the portfolio committee on communications.
Around 24 candidates were interviewed, and Muthien was among the eight who were selected. Muthien came with experience as she previously served on the Council of Iziko Museums’ Special Committee as well as on the board of directors of Shonaquip disability support services.
Note: Attempts to contact Ndabeni-Abrahams were unsuccessful at the time of publishing. An update will be provided once more information becomes available.