President Jacob Zuma Photo: Reuters
President Jacob Zuma Photo: Reuters

Storm over Zuma’s 'loyalist' SABC appointments

By Mayibongwe Maqhina Time of article published Oct 18, 2017

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The appointment of so-called loyalists by President Jacob Zuma to the board of the SABC has outraged some interest groups and political parties.

Zuma announced the new board just a few days after he was taken to court in an attempt to get him to make permanent appointments.

In appointing the new board, he upset many people when he dumped Khanyisile Kweyama and Mathatha Tsedu as the preferred nominees for chairperson and deputy chairperson respectively.

Instead, Zuma appointed Bongumusa Makhathini as chairperson and Febe Potgieter-Gqubule as his deputy.

Makhathini is the chairperson of the foundation of one of Zuma’s wives, Bongi Ngema-Zuma, while Potgieter-Gqubule is an ANC activist and previously served as as an adviser to Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma during her stint at the African Union Commission.

Makhathini, who claimed to have met Zuma only at the foundation’s events, told parliamentarians that if he were appointed, he would quit his post at the foundation.

Potgieter-Gqubule said that if she were appointed to the board, she would, however, resign from the board if she gets elected to the ANC’s national executive committee in December.

DA communications spokesperson Phumzile van Damme said her party noted with concern the appointment of Makhathini and Potgieter-Gqubule after a month's wait.

“Despite the appointments finally being made, the DA has some concerns regarding the suitability and impartiality of the chairperson and deputy chairperson appointed by the president,” Van Damme said.

She said the SABC needed individuals who would carry out the mandate of the SABC, act within the prescripts of the Broadcasting Act and not bow to political pressure.

Van Damme was, however, thrilled that there were still qualified and suitable individuals on the board.

“We will be keeping a hawk’s eye on the board’s work. It is now up to them to stand up against corruption and political interference,” she said.

The SOS Coalition, Media Monitoring Africa and Freedom of Expression Institute said a recent court judgment clarified that SABC executives are to be appointed by the board and without the minister's approval.

“The board has been given all powers to constitute disciplinary proceedings against the GCEO, CFO and COO, removing all such powers from the minister.”

Political Bureau

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