Committee finalises SABC board nominees

The National Assembly’s communications committee on Tuesday recommended 12 names for the new South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) board, including six current board members.

The six are Alison Gilwald, Andile Mbeki, Fadila Lagadien, Khanyisile Mkhonza, Christine Qunta and Ashwin Trikamjee.

Current board chairperson Eddie Funde, who was also nominated and on the shortlist of 37, withdrew his nomination shortly before he was due to be interviewed at the end of last month.

In a letter to committee chairperson Godfrey Oliphant, Funde said his workload and schedule would not permit him to serve with the diligence and commitment required of a board member.

The other six recommended by the committee are Nadia Bulbulia, Desmond Golding, Peter Vundla, Bheki Khumalo, Gloria Serobe and Pansy Tlakula.

Eight candidates—Bulbulia, Gilwald, Vundla, Khumalo, Lagadien, Mkhonza, Tlakula and Trikamjee—received the support of the African National Congress (ANC) and the Democratic Alliance (DA).

The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) supported seven of the eight, abstaining only on Khumalo.

Both the DA and IFP strongly opposed Mbeki, Qunta and Serobe, but abstained on Golding.

The DA’s Dene Smuts said Serobe was a shareholder in Telkom, which was about to enter into direct competition with the SABC in broadcasting, and differed on many issues with Qunta, including her attitude towards freedom of expression and Aids.

Suzanne Vos of the IFP said Mbeki was now “past his sell-by date as a young lion”.

Smuts said the DA would have preferred to include, among others, former National Assembly speaker Frene Ginwala, with the proviso she did not make herself available for re-election to the ANC national executive committee in December.

The new board assumes duty in January next year.

Rubben Mohlaloga of the ANC said his party had considered all aspects of the objections raised by the DA and IFP, and was satisfied the best candidates had been selected.

It had been an exhaustive process and the final recommendations consolidated the board, he said.

The names will now go the full Assembly on Thursday for concurrence, before being submitted to President Thabo Mbeki for his final approval.—Sapa

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