Johannesburg - President Cyril Ramaphosa has finally appointed a 12-member SABC board of directors six months after the public broadcaster seemingly lacked leadership.
Ramaphosa appointed the board after being dragged to the Constitutional Court by a civil society body, Media Monitoring Africa.
Opposition parties and the public also applied pressure on Ramaphosa to appoint the board.
The board will serve for the next five years under the leadership of chairperson Khathutshelo Ramukumba, and deputy chairperson Nomvuyiso Batyi.
The newly appointed board members include the former head of news at the SABC, Phathiswa Magopeni, and other former staff members, Mpho Tsedu and Dr Renee Horne.
Magopeni was embarrassed by being fired from her position by the broadcaster last year.
Other directors include advocate Tseliso Thipanyane, Aifheli Makhwanya, Magdalene Moonsamy (who is representing singer Kelly Khumalo in the Senzo Meyiwa murder trial), Rearabetsoe Motaung, David Maimela, Dinkwanyane Mohuba, and Palesa Kadi.
Ramaphosa’s spokesperson, Vincent Magwenya, said the president had, in terms of Section 13(1) of the Broadcasting Act, 1999 (Act No. 4 of 1999) as amended, appointed the members as non-executive members of the board of the SABC for five years, effective from the date of the publication of the notice in the government gazette.
The president conceded the state broadcaster was paramount.
‘’The SABC is a vital institution of our constitutional democracy. I trust the newly appointed board members will work hard at ensuring that South Africa continues to benefit from a stable, independent, and effective national public broadcaster,’’ said Ramaphosa.
GIBS Media Leadership Think Tank’s Michael Markovitz, in an interview with one of the broadcasters, said taking the president to Concourt to compel him to do something he was mandated to do was unfortunate.
He said Magopeni was an extremely skilled and experienced person in the broadcasting field.
‘’She has everything that it takes to be an excellent board member. I wish her good luck, like all the other colleagues. I think they have an important task ahead,’’ said Markovitz.
He said the board was never involved in citing Magopeni, saying that the matter was between the CEO and her since she reported to him.
‘’We were not involved, and I think it's important for boards not to get involved in operational matters. There was a perception that we were involved, but I can assure you that there was no involvement from the previous board in that disciplinary matter. We were made to understand that the matter had been settled. There is no wedge between Magopeni and the SABC,’’ Markovitz said.