The ANC has said the parliamentary communications portfolio committee couldn't meet this month to interview candidates to serve on the SABC board.
DURBAN - The ANC has said the parliamentary communications portfolio committee could not meet early this month to interview candidates to serve on the SABC board because the committee secretariat was still compiling the names of nominees.

The party made this comment after the DA at the weekend said the process of filling eight vacancies has not happened despite an undertaking by the committee to do so early this month.

The vacancies arose after the resignation of former board members Khanyisile Kweyama, John Matisonn, Krish Naidoo and Mathatha Tsedu last month, a move that left the board without a quorum.

This happened as the portfolio committee called for nominations to fill four other vacancies that arose from resignations.

The DA’s Phumzile Van Damme claimed that she wrote twice to committee chairperson Hlengiwe Mkhize last week requesting an update on the dates set for beginning the process of filling the vacancies and has received no response from Mkhize or the members of the ANC serving on the committee.

“It is clear that the filling of the eight vacancies on the SABC board is not a matter of priority for the ANC, as it has claimed,” she said.

Mkhize could not be reached for comment yesterday as her cellphone went unanswered and she did not respond to a text message.

Yesterday, ANC whip on the committee Mziwamadoda Kalako took a swipe at the official opposition.

“They are just malicious. I know they enquired from the chairperson to try to check when we will sit. I don’t know how the chair responded,” Kalako said.

He explained that the delay encountered was in the compilation of names of nominees by the committee secretariat. Last week, the committee secretary was still busy and had just come back from holidays.

“There is no way that we can meet without having the compilation of the names. We can’t meet without having those names,” Kalako said.

He insisted that their approach was to get the names of nominees first.

“They can’t say the ANC is not prioritising the filling of vacancies... (but) there is no way we can begin without getting the names from the secretariat of the committee,” Kalako said.

However, Van Damme said the shortlisting, interviewing and approval by the National Assembly of permanent SABC board should happen as a matter of urgency.

“It is in the best interest of the SABC that these vacancies be filled urgently. We need the board to return to its full capacity and for stability to return to the struggling SABC,” she said.

Meanwhile, the decision by the SABC board to suspended retrenchment of staff has been welcomed.

“We have said before retrenching, look (they must look) at many measures they can utilise. They took a decision based on that,” Kalako said.

Van Damme said her party welcomed the move by the SABC for placing in abeyance the planned retrenchment of more than 2200 workers.

“We now reiterate our call for an independent skills and salary audit to be conducted, as we have done consistently in the past. It’s imperative that this takes place, so that critical posts are not simply abandoned and they remain filled. Retrenchments must be conducted in a responsible manner and a skills audit is critical to that process,” she said.

- THE MERCURY