22 February 2019

South Africa: Board Appointments Delay - Dysfunctional SABC Could Lead to Challenge of Election Results

analysis

Media Monitoring Africa and the SOS Support Public Broadcasting Coalition have, in a letter through their lawyers, warned President Cyril Ramaphosa, Speaker Baleka Mbete and Chair of the portfolio committee on communications, Hlengiwe Mkhize, that a dysfunctional SABC could leave election results open to challenge.

On Thursday 21 February, Webber Wentzel, on behalf of SOS and Media Monitoring Africa, wrote that election results could be challenged on the basis that the SABC failed to provide balanced coverage in the build-up to the national elections scheduled for May.

Webber Wentzel's Dario Milo said his clients "are deeply concerned about the delays in appointing candidates to fill eight vacancies on the SABC's board before Parliament rises on 20 March 2019".

"Our clients submit that by occasioning the delays in the appointment process the committee, the National Assembly and the President have acted unlawfully and unconstitutionally, including failing in their duty under section 237 of the Constitution which provides that obligations arising from the Constitution 'must be performed diligently and without delay' ", wrote Milo.

A functioning board, he added, was critical to ensuring the SABC's independence and that this was "particularly significant given the upcoming national elections in May 2019".

"Indeed, the...

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