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Parliament, Cape Town - The decision to dissolve the embattled SABC board and appoint an interim board was bulldozed through Parliament, opposition parties claimed in the National Assembly on Tuesday.
Speaking during a short debate in the house, Democratic Alliance MP Marian Shinn said the problems at the SABC, which led to the resignations of all but two of the 12 non-executive board members, was a crisis caused by political interference.
Shinn said this interference had a negative affect on the SABC and the performance of the board.
“Many South Africans who wanted to contribute to the formation of a vibrant, world-class public broadcaster are now scarred and embittered people,” she said.
Shinn said she had spoken to many of the board members, who had indicated that they had resigned “in disgust” as key decisions at the SABC were open to meddling by politicians.
“Those that I spoke to yesterday said until the laws are changed to prevent political interference nothing would change to save the corporation from the destructive path it is on,” she said
The DA did not propose any names for the interim board as it did not believe political parties should be involved in the nomination process.
“The appointment of this interim board must be seen for what it is: a rushed, non-transparent, and inadequate affair.”
Congress of the People MP Juli Killian expressed similar sentiments.
“Cope wishes to register its serious discomfort with the process followed and the undue haste to dissolve the board with less than 24-hours notice,” Killian said.
Inkatha Freedom Party MP Liezl van der Merwe said her party could not approve the new five-member board as it had not had time to study the curricula vitae of the nominees.
African National Congress Whip Gregory Schneeman rejected the opposition parties' claims.
“This process was not bulldozed through the 1/8communications portfolio 3/8 committee this morning. All parties were informed 1/8of the process 3/8 yesterday,” said Schneeman.
The names of interim board members were eventually approved by the house.
The recommended board members are Zandile Tshabalala, Noluthando Gosa Äwho was among those who resigned from the board Ä Vusi Mavuso, Ronnie Lubisi and Iraj Abedian.
President Jacob Zuma still has to sign off on their appointments.
Tshabala was the ANC's choice for board chair.
Earlier, during the portfolio committee meeting on Tuesday, Schneeman said Tshabalala had extensive experience in banking, strategic development, international business and investments.
Gosa was nominated as deputy chair. This would be her third stint as a board member.
“She would bring with her extensive experience and understanding on the workings of the SABC,” Schneeman said.
Mavuso is a former chair of the board of directors of Transparency International (South Africa) and served on the Public Service Commission, where he sat on the ethics committee.
“He's also had significant experience in dealing with issues of ethics, dealing with issues of corruption.”
Lubisi is a chartered accountant, and is expected to bring his financial experience to the board.
The ANC compromised with the opposition and withdrew the name of one of its nominees, and replaced him with the Congress of the People's choice, economist Iraj Abedian.
“He's an economist and public finance management expert... a board member of the Development Bank of SA...,” Cope MP Juli Killian told the committee.
Killian conceded her party had not contacted Abedian to ask whether he would in fact accept nomination to serve on the board.
Also present at the committee meeting was Suzanne Vos, one of only two board members who did not quit prior to the board being dissolved.
She was allowed to address MPs.
Vos accused Communications Minister Dina Pule of interfering in the board's operations.
“At the heart of this crisis, if one can call it that, is the view, not only my own, I believe, that ministerial interference in board decision-making and the functioning of the SABC has become extremely problematic,” Vos said.
She took aim at former board chair Ben Ngubane.
“The singular, unilateral, decision-making of the chairman, Dr Ben Ngubane, has been previously brought to the attention of this committee of Parliament,” Vos told MPs.
Pule denied she was guilty of political interference, an allegation which was made by at least one other board member, Cedric Gina, who also recently resigned.
“If I had interfered, some of the things at the board would not have happened.... I wish I had interfered,” Pule said. - Sapa