Picture: African News Agency/ANA Archives.
Johannesburg - Members of Parliament will return to their duties early this year in an effort to lessen the burden on the SABC which currently faces a crisis as it operates without a solid board.

Last month, the public broadcaster was rocked by the resignations of Krish Naidoo, Khanyisile Kweyama, John Matisonn and Mathatha Tsedu who made up the interim board appointed by former president Jacob Zuma in 2017.

The resignations came after Rachel Kalidass, Victor Rambau and Febe Potgieter-Gqubule also quit, and after Nomvuyiso Batyi recused herself.

DA MP Phumzile van Damme said the portfolio committee on communications would start the year interviewing candidates to fill the eight vacancies before Parliament’s first sitting.

“We are happy with the process that will be undertaken to appoint the board members. We are going to fill all vacancies agreed by the committee in January. We look forward to receiving CVs and interviewing candidates,” Van Damme said.

“The time we have given ourselves is realistic. What needs to happen is that we need to receive all the CVs and look through them, and shortlist candidates to be interviewed. I believe it is something that we can complete before the first sitting of Parliament. There is plenty of time to ensure that the correct people are chosen to be on the board.”

The committee envisaged filling the post before the general elections in May.

It is hoped that the interviewing process and the final approval of the recommended candidates by the National Assembly will be concluded next month.

UDM MP Nqabayomzi Kwankwa, however, raised concerns over the time frame the committee has set to conclude the filling of the eight vacancies.

“The concern we have as a party is the time frame, considering that the committee has given itself until January to complete its work. We are concerned. Is the process going to be undertaken properly or will we just be ticking boxes?” asked Kwankwa.

He said that by now they had hoped that all board members would resign and for a new interim board to be appointed to oversee the broadcaster.

With eight vacancies, the SABC board does not form a quorum and was therefore unable to make crucial decisions. The broadcaster was currently engaging with trade unions and workers on possible retrenchments.

The resignations last year also hit the broadcaster at a time when it was experiencing financial turmoil. Owing to its insolvency status, it was envisaged that 981 employees may be retrenched across all the business units and operations of the SABC.

Out of 2400 freelancers, 1200 will be affected.

Political Bureau