Three SABC board members resign

Three SABC board members resigned on Thursday with immediate effect, bringing to six the number of members who resigned since last year.

Former presidential spokesperson Bheki Khumalo, Andile Mbeki and Desmond Golding based their actions on public interest.

They followed the then-board director Fadilah Lagardien, Peter Vundla and deputy chairperson Christine Qunta, who resigned in the space of two months.

“We are mindful of the enormity of the challenges that are currently facing the SABC,” they said in a joint statement.

“We are of the firm view that it is in the public interest to resign.”

“Accordingly, we have submitted our resignations to the office of the minister of communications earlier today [Thursday].”

Only six board members appointed by former president Thabo Mbeki after the ANC’s Polokwane conference remain on the board.

They are Khanyisile Mkonza, who recently stepped down as board chairperson to become an ordinary member; Ashwin Trikamjee, who replaced Mkonza, Gloria Serobe, Nadia Bulbulia, Pansy Tlakula and Rob Nicholson.

Khumalo, Mbeki and Golding said it was a privilege to have been chosen by the executive and Parliament to serve as members of the board.

“Our resignation is with immediate effect subject to all the applicable legislative and administrative procedures being followed,” they said.

“We want to thank management, staff as well as all other stakeholders who have supported us during our stay on the board.”

Lagardien said her resignation was due to a lack of leadership within the board.

Although Vundla and Qunta did not discuss their reasons for resigning, Qunta had allegedly clashed with Mkonza.

This string of resignations raised concerns from media analysts and political parties that called for Parliament to act swiftly to prevent further “chaos” at the cash-strapped public broadcaster.

Internal divisions
The Democratic Alliance blamed the crisis faced by the broadcaster on the African National Congress’s own internal conflicts.

“Severe financial issues, coupled with present attempts to topple the SABC’s board, merely reflect upon the fact that the SABC has been run into the ground by successive ANC administrations.

“Unqualified ANC cadres continue to be deployed to key posts within the corporation, and that the ANC government continues to take every opportunity to meddle in the SABC’s internal affairs,” it said in a statement on Thursday.

If the broadcaster was to ever become an example of excellence, it needed to be entirely independent of the ruling party, said the DA.

The High Court in Johannesburg on Thursday dismissed with costs the SABC’s appeal against an earlier ruling reinstating its suspended chief executive officer Dali Mpofu.

However, Mpofu who was elated at the outcome, would not say whether he was still interested in heading the broadcaster. - Sapa

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