Pretoria - The Gauteng High Court Pretoria in a groundbreaking judgment delivered on Tuesday - the same day as President Jacob Zuma eventually appointed a new board of directors at the South African Broadcasting Corporation - limited the powers of the Communications Minister in appointing and firing members of the board.
Judge Elias Matojane declared several clauses of the Amended Memorandum of Incorporation (MoO) and the SABC Charter in respect to the appointment, discipline and suspension of the three executive directors - the Group Chief Executive Officer, Chief Operations Officer and Chief Financial Officer - inconsistent with the Broadcasting Act and thus invalid.
It was found that the powers vested in the minister undermined the independence of the SABC. In terms of the judgment, the SABC board must control the affairs of the public broadcaster.
It was ordered that the executive members of the Board are to be appointed solely by the non-executive members of the board and without any requirement of approval by the minister.
Before appointing any person to the position of executive director on a permanent basis, the non-executive members of the board shall follow a process which ensures transparency and openness, including publicly advertising the position.