Eddie Funde is new chair of SABC board

President Thabo Mbeki has appointed Eddie Funde as the new chairperson of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) board, communications department spokesperson Jerry Majatladi has confirmed.

He has also appointed lawyer Christine Qunta as the new vice-chairperson. They replace outgoing chairperson and vice-chairperson Vincent Maphai and Barbara Masekela respectively. The two were widely expected to be appointed to the top positions on the board—amid an outcry from the opposition that the two had too close links with the ruling African National Congress.

Funde told the Mail & Guardian Online on Tuesday that everybody had had the opportunity to ask him any questions they wished and he had no response to claims that he was confidant of the ruling party.

“I don’t know why I was chosen. I went for an interview like everybody else. They asked questions and the process went from there.” he said.

Funde said the SABC had been formed in the “terrible apartheid era” and had propogated it’s own views, excluded others and spread major disinformation.

“From that era it has moved quite a long way. There have been enormous improvements, especially in the education side. I’ve heard very good comments from overseas people about the education programmes. I think more can be done for the education of others. I think it’s improved, and we’ll improve on what’s already there.”

Funde is chairman of a review panel which is assessing the performance of ruling party Members of Parliament. The communications portfolio committee of the National Assembly recently recommended 12 names for the board—which were approved by the National Assembly.

Official opposition Democratic Alliance communications spokesperson Dene Smuts said the appointments were “exactly what was expected”—one was a confidant of the ruling party and the other—Qunta—an Africanist. “This is depressing,” said Smuts.

The other members of the board are journalist Thami Mazwai, Noluthando Gosa, human rights lawyer Ashwyn Trikamjee, sitting member Derrick Swartz, Fadielah Lagardien, Cecil Msomi, Khanyi Mkhonza (who is chairperson of the Media Development and Diversity Agency), Allison Gillwald, Andile Mbeki (apparently not directly related to President Thabo Mbeki) and Andrew Maralack.

Funde is a former South African Telecommunications Regulatory Authority councillor. - I-Net Bridge

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