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Cape Town - Communications Minister Dina Pule and Parliament's communications portfolio committee contributed to problems at the SABC, Congress of the People MP Juli Killian said on Monday.
“The mere fact that the committee was not willing to intervene earlier and ensure we correct the serious corporate governance transgressions is making all of us guilty of dereliction of duty,” Killian said after a news briefing by committee chairman Sikhumbuzo Kholwane.
Kholwane announced the likelihood that the SABC board would be dissolved and an interim five member board be appointed.
This followed the resignations of board chair Ben Ngubane and his deputy Thami ka Plaatjie, followed by another six resignations at the weekend.
The board now consists of only three non-executive members, meaning it will not be able to meet and approve key decisions at the broadcaster because it cannot muster a quorum.
Pule is expected to brief the committee on the matter on Tuesday.
Based on her report, the committee will have to make one of two decisions.
It can start a process of filling the nine vacancies on the board.
“Effectively we are looking at a period of two to three months to fill the vacancies...,” said Kholwane.
The second scenario will be for the committee to dissolve the board, but under a tight deadline.
“Surely, if the committee says let's dissolve what's remaining of the board, which will be in line with the act, after the presentation of the minister...what it means is we must recommend five names to the president to be able to have an interim board,” he said.
The recommendation of five names, followed by a recommendation to the National Assembly, will have to be done by Tuesday, as the next available house sitting for this to be done is mid-April.
“There is no time for dilly-dallying.... If an interim board will have to come in, we will have to end the issue of the interim board and present the issue to Parliament tomorrow (Tuesday) and then we are done with the issue.”
Kholwane did not exclude the possibility of bringing back board members who had resigned to serve on the interim body.
“Indeed, when you fill the board, even in the interim, the act does not exclude anyone. It does not exclude those who have resigned, nor those who are currently on the board,” he said.
Killian said she was not optimistic that the dissolution of the board and the appointment of an interim one could be done in a matter of hours.
“To move towards dissolution and thereafter immediately into appointment of an interim board is going to be virtually impossible to achieve,” she said.
Earlier on Monday, President Jacob Zuma accepted all the board resignations.
In the wake of Ngubane and Ka Plaatjie's joint resignation letter last week, Zuma had received six more and had accepted them all, presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said.
The board members who quit were Lumko Mtimde, John Danana, Cedric Gina, Desmond Golding, Cawe Mahlati, and Noluthando Gosa.
“The president has accepted their resignations and thanked them for their contribution during their tenure as board members of the SABC,” Maharaj said.
“The president has requested the Minister of Communications, Ms Dina Pule, to liaise with the National Assembly regarding the process to fill the vacancies left by the members who have resigned.”
The exodus followed a row between Ngubane and the board, reportedly about the tenure of acting chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng.
The SABC announced on February 26 that Motsoeneng had been released as its acting chief operating officer, and would be replaced by radio news and current affairs head Mike Siluma. Motsoeneng would move back to his position as group editor of provinces.
While Ngubane and KaPlaatjie confirmed by March 4, that the decision had been reversed, the board insisted the next day that it had not.
“The latest resignations render the board inoperable as only three directors of the 12 have not resigned: Suzanne Vos, Pippa Green and Claire McNeil,” said Democratic Alliance communications spokeswoman Marian Shinn. - Sapa