Broadcasting Services

South Africa’s MPs Return To Work Early To Fill SABC Positions

In Johannesburg, South Africa, members of Parliament are expected to return to their duties early this year in a race to lessen the load on the SABC which currently has the crisis of operating without a solid board.

Last month, the public broadcaster was had to deal with the sudden resignations of Krish Naidoo, John Matisonn, Khanyisile Kweyama and Mathatha Tsedu who had been members of the interim board that was appointed by South Africa’s former president Jacob Zuma in 2017.

The resignations came after Victor Rambau, Rachel Kalidass and Febe Potgieter-Gqubule also jumped ship and after Nomvuyiso Batyi also stepped down.

Democratic Alliance MP Phumzile van Damme said that the portfolio committee on communications would kick off the year by interviewing candidates to fill the eight open vacancies before Parliament’s first sitting for 2019.

The committee hopes to fill all posts before South Africa’s general elections in May.
It is also hoping that the National Assembly will conclude the interviewing process and the approval of the recommended candidates by the end of February.

Another MP, Nqabayomzi Kwankwa, however, expressed concerns about the time frame the committee had set to conclude the filling of these eight vacancies.
He was concerned that in such a short space of time, the process might not be appropriately undertaken and might end up being a matter of ticking boxes in a rush to wrap it up.
Kwankwa said that he had hoped that by now all old board members would resign and for a fresh new interim board to be appointed to look after the broadcaster.

With eight vacancies, the SABC board did not have the number of members that it requires to make crucial decisions. The broadcaster is currently engaging with workers and trade unions on possible retrenchments.

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

Out of 2400 freelancers, a staggering 1200 will be affected.

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