Communications Minister Ayanda Dlolo
Johannesburg - If it were up to Communications Minister Ayanda Dlodlo, the now defunct SABC interim board members should never have been nominated in the first place nor should it have been recommended that they serve on a permanent basis.

Dlodlo made this clear to the interim board members and the ANC's study group on communications, according to insiders. The minister also confirmed her views to the Saturday Star in an interview on Thursday.

Although Dlodlo said she was satisfied with the work the interim board members had done regarding stabilising the SABC and “steering the public broadcaster into the right direction” she also made her stance clear about interim board members' prospects.

Quizzed whether it would be a sound business decision to have them serve again to ensure continuity and stability, she remarked: “When you talk about continuity in an environment like the SABC, maybe continuity is not a good word to use.”

She added that she had explained this to the interim board members.

“I said to them: ‘All of you will be gone (and) life will still continue, in terms of ensuring that what you have begun to do is carried forward because the management of the SABC will still be there. The minister who saw your work through will still be there to say ‘how far are you on the issues that we had agreed on, all of us ’ So continuity will still be there, with or without them. You must also remember that the executive of the SABC also sits on the board.”

The Saturday Star reported last week that Dlodlo had allegedly objected to the interim board being recommended by Parliament.

She suggested on Thursday that the fact that the interim board members had served in an acting capacity in some way disqualified them. “If you put me as an acting president today, if I have an eye to that seat, I will tell you that I will not act because I have an eye to that seat. So that was my approach to (these) issues. It was just on a matter of principle,” she said.

The SABC has been without a board for three weeks and it has been almost six weeks since Parliament adopted recommendations endorsing the interim board. President Jacob Zuma has said he is still “applying his mind” because he “has to satisfy himself that they are fit and proper persons to serve on the board and that they possess all the qualifications they claim to have”.

But a week after the South African Qualification Authority (SAQA) completed the verification process and gave him feedback, Zuma has yet to appoint the board.

This has raised concerns that there are renewed attempts to “recapture” the SABC and ensure it is controlled by certain politicians.

On Tuesday, Dlodlo told Parliament that the SABC board was likely to be appointed before the end of this week. However, she denied this on Thursday, saying she had merely expressed her wish.

“I never said that. It was my wish (I was expressing). I can’t say by when the SABC must be appointed, when the process is not in my hands. And whether I want the board to be appointed today or tomorrow, it's not my prerogative.”

Dlodlo said she had on Wednesday given the president the file containing the board members’ documents which SAQA had handed to her department on Thursday last week.

When asked if she was concerned that the crisis-ridden SABC still does not have a board, she said: “That worries me. But if the president has got issues and things that he's looking at that I might not be privy to, it's not my place to say hurry up.”

Asked if she would be happy to work with the interim board members, should they be appointed, she appeared to contradict herself. “It really doesn't matter whether I am happy with them or not. I have no view on people that I have not worked with. All I can say is that I want the best possible relationship with the board because, as I have always said,the buck stops with me.

“Where I have to give direction well within the confines of the law, I will do so. Where it is not my prerogative to give direction, I will step away.”

She later said: “If they were to be appointed, I will be happy to continue with them in the same way that I have worked with them. We were all in a intense atmosphere, trying to correct things.”

On Thursday, Dlodlo seemed to be caught unaware when the Saturday Star quizzed her on the fact that the executives’ terms were lapsing on that very day.

An impromptu meeting was then called with the department's legal adviser, and about three hours later, Dlodlo extended the acting appointments of acting GCEO Nomsa Philiso, CFO Thabile Dlamini and COO Bessie Tugwana.

Saturday Star