9 October 2017

South Africa: Concern Over Zuma 'Deliberately Delaying' SABC Board Appointment

The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) on Monday said it was concerned that President Jacob Zuma has still not appointed the new South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) board.

OUTA called on Zuma in a statement to appoint the 12 individuals approved by Parliament to non-executive board posts without any further delays, after he had received their recommendations over a month ago.

"We're concerned that President Zuma is deliberately delaying the appointment of the new board for political reasons, leaving an unacceptable gap in governance at the SABC," OUTA special projects director Dominique Msibi said.

Parliament approved the 12 names on September 6 following a lengthy interview process for more than 300 names in August. The interim board's term expired on September 26, leaving the SABC without a board for the past 13 days.

Crucial executive posts

Msibi explained that the new board was needed to appoint three crucial executives for the SABC. All three positions are currently held by acting personnel, with their contracts reportedly running out on October 12.

"If there is no board, then who appoints the new executives? Will the President appoint his own people? This is unacceptable. We are at risk of seeing the interim board's good work being lost," Msibi said.

On Sunday, City Press reported that Zuma and Communications Minister Ayanda Dlodlo were allegedly planning to make their own appointments for certain key positions.

Presidency spokesperson Dr Bongani Ngqulunga on Sunday responded to a City Press report, denying that Zuma was deliberately delaying the appointment of the board.

"The Presidency is concerned about the rumours and gossip that continue to flourish with regards to the SABC board appointments," he said.

"The rumours... that the appointments have not been made yet because President Jacob Zuma has certain preferences or 'does not like' certain candidates or that he has an interest in the appointment of SABC executives are mischievous and are without foundation."

He added that the president respected the parliamentary process that was undertaken, had no personal preferences and was instead concerned to ensure that the members fitted all requirements, "including citizenship and to have no criminal records".

He told News24 earlier this month that he has to satisfy himself that the candidates are fit and proper persons, as there has been previous occasions where individuals had "misrepresented their qualifications".

Ngqulunga said that the same process of due diligence was also being applied to the Commission for Gender Equality and board members of the Media Development and Diversity Agency.

"The Presidency and affected departments and institutions understand the urgency of the matter," he said before requesting space for Zuma to make a decision.

The 5-person interim board was appointed within 11 days of their approval by the National Assembly back in March. It has now been 33 days since the National Assembly approved the 12 candidates for permanent board posts.

Source: News24

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