File photo: Independent Media
Parliament - The rule book regarding supply chain management and other laws applicable to the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) was "completely thrown away" prior to the appointment of the interim board, MPs heard on Tuesday.

Leanne Govindsamy, an attorney, who is head of legal and investigations at Corruption Watch, was the first of 35 candidates to be interviewed by Parliament's portfolio committee on communications.

"Moving forward, if you don't have some sort of sanctions...where the rules are completely ignored, you will see a repeat of this malfeasance...," said Govindsamy, who at 32 is the youngest of the candidates.

Board members should also be held to account if they fail in their jobs, because it was "a legislative criminal offence not to adhere to our fiduciary duties".

Asked why she thought she was a good candidate for the post as she has no board experience, she said she would bring a "fresh perspective" to the SABC and that she was no longer comfortable merely sitting on the sidelines watching what was happening at the public broadcaster.

Govindsamy, who told the committee she has extensive experience in administrative, procurement and media law, said it was time to "step up".

She affirmed the Broadcasting Act as the primary act governing the SABC, as opposed to the Companies Act, which former communications minister Faith Muthambu incorrectly claimed took precedence when dealing with the public broadcaster.

On the communication minister's role, Govindsamy said: "There should be limited interference."

She also believed that the editorial policy of the SABC should not be unduly interferred with, and that news should be reported in a fair and balanced manner.

The cash flow of the organisation could also be improved if better programmes were aired so people felt it was worth paying their television licences, she added.

Govindsamy worked as a clerk for the late Constitutional Court Judge, Tholakele Madala, before obtaining her law degree. She studied and worked abroad, came back to South Africa to work for a private law firm, before joining Corruption Watch.

African News Agency