It is of utmost importance that the SABC’s new interim – and eventually permanent board – has the necessary qualifications and expertise to ensure “history does not repeat itself”.
This was the word on Tuesday from the portfolio committee on communications as it set the ball rolling to find an interim board to manage the rudderless SABC.
Chairperson of the committee Humphrey Maxegwana said it was “very urgent” for an interim board to be appointed.
Agreeing with this, Support Public Broadcasting Coalition coordinator Duduetsang Makuse said the interim board must comprise experts who would “arrest the situation” at the SABC.
“We must have people with HR experience, legal experience and broadcasting experience … people who have an understanding of what a democratic public broadcaster should look like,” she said.
“We need that to get to grips with the situation. We have a lot of unearthing to do.
“If we don’t have the right people, we will see history repeating itself and the SABC ending up right where it was.”
The permanent board should take the interim board’s re-commendations forward to ensure that “we don’t have another Hlaudi Motsoeneng coming into the ranks”, she added.
To speed up the process, members of the committee will now submit their preferred candidates to their political party parliamentary chief whips, who will consider the names next week.
Thereafter, the committee will whittle down the nominees in two weeks’ time.
While “the sooner the better” is applicable, the process must not be hasty, said Makuse.
Media Monitoring Africa head of policy Thandi Smith said once the committee’s report was released, action must be taken in implementing “good, solid recommendations”, which might be a challenge.
“It’s not necessarily about what happens at the inquiry, but it’s about what we do with the evidence that has emerged.”
The appointed board must be solely elected in terms of skill and competency and must be able to act independently and transparently, she added.
“Regarding Motsoeneng, he should be held fully accountable for his actions.
“Irregular decisions, such as the editorial policy change to ban violent images, made under his leadership, should be transparently rectified.”
Elsewhere in parliament, the ad hoc committee also met – after extensive hearings – in a bid to finalise its report to the National Assembly. Among the recommendations was that Communications Minister Faith Muthambi face some form of sanctioning for political interference in operational affairs.
The ad hoc committee has until February 28 to submit its final report to the National Assembly.