Picture: Chris Maroleng. (LinkedIn).

CAPE TOWN - Following much controversy and contestation of his appointment, the SOS Coalition and Media Monitoring Africa today confirmed the appointment of SABC COO, Chris Maroleng. 

This comes hot off the cuffs of Communication Minister, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane’s affirmation yesterday that MTN's group executive for corporate affairs Maroleng will be taking up the vacancy of SABC COO. 

"The minister wishes to advise the media that all appointments of the chief operating officer, chief executive officer and chief financial officer of State-owned entities are done through Cabinet processes and therefore the announcements of the outcome are made by Cabinet," Kubayi-Ngubane said in a statement.

"It is the minister's responsibility to present any appointment of executives of the SoEs under the Department of Communications through Cabinet processes. To this end, the minister has no knowledge of any official appointment of a COO of SABC". 

According to the Coalition and Media Monitoring Africa, Maroleng's appointment is ratified, subject to final security vetting processes. 

“We stand behind the board in making critical appointments provided they adhere to the principle of finding the best people for the job, with suitable experience and capabilities”, said the Coalition. 

“We note with concern the Minister’s statement that alleges that the SABC’s CEO, COO and CFO appointments are to be made by government through cabinet processes. The SABC is not an ordinary SOE, this fact was highlighted in recent court rulings”.

The Coalition reminds the minister of the October 17, 2017 High Court Judgement by Judge Matojane. This judgement confirmed the SABC Boards right to make 3 executive appointments independently, in consultation with the Minister but without Ministerial veto.

"It is important to note the distinction made in the interim order.  The distinction is between “in consultation” and “after consultation”.  In the first, it means there must be concurrence.  In other words, an appointment “in consultation” means the Minister and the SABC Board would have to agree on the appointment.  In the current instance, however, it is “after consultation.” In other words, the SABC Board must consult the Minister and give her an opportunity to give her views and/or concerns, but it is not necessary for her to agree with the SABC Board in order for them to make the appointment".

In addition, the Coalition says that they would like to bring to the Minister’s memory the December 6, 2017 Interim Court order between the Minister’s counsel and applicant’s counsel. 

Both parties reportedly agreed to follow the independent appointments process until the appeal by the Minister is heard. 

READ ALSO: Kubayi-Ngubane denies knowledge of new SABC COO appointment

 The Interim Order states that:

1.    The executive members of the SABC Board are to be appointed by the non-executive members of the SABC Board.

1.2.    The Minister of Communications will have no right to veto a decision of the Board regarding the permanent or interim appointment of an executive member of the SABC Board.

1.3    The Board will make any permanent or interim appointment of an executive member as envisaged in paragraph 1.1 above only after consultation with the Minister of Communications, with the phrase “after consultation” to have the meaning set out in the matter of Premier, Western Cape v President of the Republic of South Africa 1999 (3) SA 657 (CC) at para 85.

According to the interim order mentioned above, the Coalition says that this allows the SABC Board to go ahead to make crucial appointments. These appointments to be made, after consultation with the minister while at the same time protecting the independence of the SABC. 

“We wish Mr Maroleng all the best as he takes on the task of leading the turning around and rebuilding of South Africa’s public broadcaster”, concluded the SOS Coalition and Media Monitoring Africa. 

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