File picture: Independent Media

Parliament - The National Assembly on Wednesday, gave the green light to appoint 12 non-executive members to the board of the crisis-ridden South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), despite strong objections from the opposition benches.

The recommendation to appoint Khanyisile Kweyama, Mathatha Tsedu, Michael Markovitz, Nomvuyiso Batyi, Rachel Kalidass, Victor Rambau, John Matisonn, Jack Phalane,  Dinkwanyane Mohuba, Bongumusa Makhathini, Krish Naidoo and Febe Potgieter-Gqubule, will now be sent to President Jacob Zuma, who will do the official appointment.

Several opposition parties, including the Democratic Alliance (DA), the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), and the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) said they were vehemently opposed to the names of Naidoo, a legal consultant for the African National Congress ANC), and Potgieter-Gqubule, who has aspirations to serve on the ruling party national executive committee, being included on the board.

The DA cited the two candidates' close proximity to the ruling party as a reason for the objection, saying given the political interference in the SABC in recent years and the result of the meddling, the broadcaster could ill afford a repeat of this.

The EFF said the public broadcaster could not have two board members so close to the ruling party when they would be "at the forefront of the SABC's independence and journalists' freedom of speech".

IFP MP Liezl van der Merwe said the new board should "fiercely protect the independence of the SABC".

"It would now be up to the new board to prove to us they will not succumb to political power once more," she said.

In the end it was put to a vote with 194 MPs voting in favour of the 12 candidates being appointed and 76 MPs vote nay. There were nine abstentions.