Your top 10 picks for new SABC board
As news broke in December that SABC chairperson Mbulaheni Maguvhe had stepped down, nongovernmental organisation Media Monitoring Africa began using its social media accounts to ask South Africans who they thought should serve on an interim SABC board.
A number of candidates were nominated by the public in this informal poll, although the ultimate decision to appoint a five-person interim SABC board rests with Parliament’s portfolio committee for communications, which met this week for the first time this year.
Committee chairperson Humphrey Maxegwana said the matter was “very urgent”.
The interim board is not only going to have to oversee the stabilisation of the SABC, but will also have to deal with investigating the numerous allegations of censorship, victimisation, improper procurement and corruption that have been aired over the past few years.
The committee agreed that members would submit the names of their preferred candidates to their political party parliamentary chief whips, to be considered next week.
Meanwhile, here are the top 10 most nominated South Africans following Media Monitoring Africa’s call for nominations in December.
1. THULI MADONSELA
Former public protector
Not surprisingly, the South African who received the most public nominations to serve on the SABC interim board was Thuli Madonsela.
Madonsela became a household name during her seven years as the public protector.
With a background in unions, Madonsela chose to study law, first at the University of Swaziland and then at the University of the Witwatersrand.
She went on to teach at Wits and, in 1994, was appointed as a presiding officer at the Independent Electoral Commission.
The same year she was one of 11 technical experts who helped with the drafting of South Africa’s new Constitution and declined the position of ANC MP in the first post-apartheid Parliament.
She served as a full-time member of the South African Law Reform Commission before being appointed as public protector.
Madonsela is currently enrolled as an Advanced Leadership Initiative fellow at Harvard University.
2. PETER MATLARE
Chief executive of Tiger Brands
Peter Matlare was the chief executive of the SABC for five years between 2001 and 2005, a relatively long tenure considering the public broadcaster’s current turmoil.
He has a wealth of broadcasting experience, having worked at Primedia Broadcasting for a substantial period too.
After resigning from the SABC he joined Vodacom, but in 2008 Tiger Brands (which was engulfed in a bread price-fixing scandal at the time) came calling and appointed Matlare as chief executive.
Matlare was also the chair of the National Association of Broadcasters.
He has a BSc in political science and a master’s degree in Southern African studies from the University of York in Canada.
He would bring a lot of business and broadcasting experience to an interim SABC board.
3. TANJA BOSCH
University of Cape Town (UCT) associate professor in media studies and production
As an academic, Tanja Bosch has published research on topics ranging from community radio and commercial music radio to media audiences and digital activism.
She is the former programme manager and station manager of the Bush Radio community station and has worked as a consultant and trainer for various community radio stations and nongovernmental organisations.
She has also worked as a consultant for Unesco community radio stations in Jamaica and Trinidad.
Bosch has a BA from UCT, majoring in history and English, and a PhD in telecommunications from Ohio University, which she attended as a Fulbright scholar.
Her PhD submission was awarded the prize for best dissertation by the United States-based Broadcast Educational Association in 2004.
4. FERIAL HAFFAJEE
Huffington Post South Africa’s editor at large
Ferial Haffajee, a former Mail & Guardian editor, graduated from the University of the Witwatersrand in 1989 and began her career as a trainee journalist at the Weekly Mail in 1991.
Stints at the SABC as a radio producer and a television reporter followed, before she joined the Financial Mail in 1997.
She was the editor of the Mail & Guardian between 2004 and 2009 and City Press between 2009 and 2016. At the time of her appointment at City Press, there was widespread speculation that she was going to be made head of news at the SABC.
Haffajee is a former chairperson of the South African National Editors’ Forum and sits on the boards of the International Women’s Media Foundation, the World Editors Forum, the International Press Institute and the Inter Press Service.
5. PAULA FRAY
Journalist, media trainer
Journalist Paula Fray has been a part of the media industry for three decades.
Starting out as a cadet reporter on The Star, Fray later rose to be the news editor of the paper.
She was later appointed editor of The Saturday Star, which made her the first woman editor of a mainstream newspaper in South Africa.
A recipient of a prestigious Nieman fellowship at Harvard University, she has served on the Nieman Foundation Advisory Board.
She founded her own consultancy for media advocacy, training and project management in 2004, focused on training reporters and newsroom managers, which she still runs today.
Between 2008 and 2012, Fray was also regional director for development news agency Inter Press Service Africa and has edited its flagship newspaper TerraViva in Bamako, Nairobi and Glasgow.
6. DIKGANG MOSENEKE
Former deputy chief justice
Deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke retired from the Bench in May last year, after joining the Constitutional Court in 2002.
Born in Pretoria in 1947, he joined the Pan Africanist Congress in 1962 and was tried and convicted for his political activities — becoming, at the age of 15, the youngest prisoner to be incarcerated on Robben Island.
While he was imprisoned he obtained a BA in English and political science, as well as a BJuris degree.
Moseneke started his law career as an attorney’s clerk in 1976 and by 1983 he was a practising advocate at the Pretoria Bar.
He was part of the committee that drafted the interim Constitution in 1993, and also the deputy chairperson of the Independent Electoral Commission ahead of South Africa’s first democratic elections.
He has served as the chancellor of the University of the Witwatersrand since 2006.
7. NIKIWE BIKITSHA
Radio and television journalist
Nikiwe Bikitsha has worked as a news anchor for CNBC Africa, eNews, 702 and SABC3’s Interface, after starting out in 2001 as the anchor for e.tv’s Morning Edition breakfast show.
Between 2004 and 2007 she co-hosted the current affairs radio show AM Live on SAfm, alongside John Perlman, which was regarded as a highly influential show at the time.
It was during this stint at AM Live that she was awarded the prestigious Women in Media award as the rising star of 2006.
She has also presented a number of shows that have a focus on business in Africa.
8. EUSEBIUS MCKAISER
Journalist, talk show host and author
Every weekday between nine in the morning and midday, presenter Eusebius McKaiser is on Talk Radio 702, bringing his multitude of skills as a political analyst, journalist, author, academic and master debater to the fore.
Currently a Mail & Guardian columnist, McKaiser was, until December last year, the host of the eNCA programme Meet the Media.
McKaiser, who studied philosophy (including as a Rhodes scholar at Oxford University), has written a number of books including A Bantu in My Bathroom, Could I Vote DA? and his most recent offering, 2015’s Run Racist Run: Journeys into the Heart of Racism.
His columns have appeared in the New York Times, The Guardian and The Star, among other publications.
McKaiser won the 2011 World Masters Debate Championships and has coached debating and public speaking.
9. BARNEY MTHOMBOTHI
Former editor of the Financial Mail
Barney Mthombothi, a former editor in chief of SABC Radio News and chief executive of SABC News, is perhaps best known for the eight years he spent editing the Financial Mail.
He has also worked at The Star and the Sowetan.
In 1986 he was awarded a Reuters fellowship to study at Oxford University and in 1994 he was awarded a Nieman fellowship to study at Harvard.
Of late, his writing has appeared in the Sunday Times and the Financial Times.
10. THANDEKA GQUBULE
SABC economics editor and one of the ‘SABC 8’
Senior journalist Thandeka Gqubule was praised for her testimony before the parliamentary inquiry into the SABC.
She said journalism had been “subverted” at the SABC under former chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s leadership.
“An independent media is not a luxury,” she told the panel. “It is not an extra that can be dispensed with when the executive arm of the state wills it.”
Gqubule and several other SABC staffers, known as the SABC 8, were dismissed shortly after objecting to the censorship at the broadcaster prior to the local government elections last year.
After instituting court action, they were reinstated. Gqubule has lectured journalism at Rhodes University and Monash University.
In 2016 it was announced that Gqubule was working on a book titled No Longer Whispering to Power: The Tenure of Thuli Madonsela for Jonathan Ball Publishers.