Lulama Mokhobo has been appointed the South African Broadcasting Corporation’s (SABC) new group chief executive officer, the communications ministry said on Monday.
“After a recommendation by the South African Broadcasting Corporation board, Communications Minister Dina Pule applied her mind and is pleased to announce the appointment of Ms Lulama Mokhobo as the group chief executive of the SABC,” it said in a statement.
The appointment, for five years, is with immediate effect. She replaces acting chief executive Robin Nicholson.
Mokhobo was previously SABC group executive for public broadcasting services and has extensive executive leadership experience in the private and public sectors.
After obtaining her BA degree from the University of Botswana and Swaziland, Mokhobo completeda master’s degree in science at the Utah State University in the United States.
In 2010 questions had been raised about state interference in the public broadcaster after then SABC board chair Ben Ngubane said Nicholson’s posting as chief executive was “not legal”. Nicholson explained Ngubane had not signed a letter delegating authority to him.
Some board members claimed the real reason Ngubane did not sign off on Nicholson’s appointment was that the communications minister at the time, Siphiwe Nyanda, had publicly expressed the desire to have him removed and replaced by Mokhobo.
SABC board members who asked to see Mokhobo’s curriculum vitae were allegedly told there was no need to view it, as “the shareholder” (Nyanda) had decided to appoint her to the position.
Mokhobo was shortlisted for the post of chief executive by the interim board, led by Irene Charnley. But, in a controversial move, the interim board opted for Solly Mokoetle shortly before the actual board assumed office in January 2010, without leaving it to choose its own chief executive.
Nicholson’s contract had been extended in June last year for six more months until a new chief executive had been found. — additional reporting by Sapa