Parliament: 'Dissolve the SABC board'

2016-10-05 18:28 - Liesl Peyper
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Hlaudi Motsoeneng

Hlaudi Motsoeneng (Picture: City Press)

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Cape Town – The SABC board must go, members of parliament resolved on Wednesday.

After lengthy deliberations all political parties who are members of the Portfolio Committee on Communications agreed that the remaining board members should resign from their positions.

As a first step, a formal parliamentary inquiry will be instituted into the fitness of the board.

In a rare show of unity, MPs agreed that the current board was dysfunctional and ill-governed, neglecting its fiduciary duty towards the public and should therefore be dissolved. 

During the committee meeting two SABC board members Vusi Mavuso and Krish Naidoo tendered their resignations in the presence of their fellow board members.

The MPs cited their dissatisfaction with of the reappointment of former SABC Chief Operations Officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng as among reasons for their resignations. 

READ: We quit - SABC board members call board amateurish, dysfunctional

Committee chairperson Humphrey Maxegwana (ANC) then asked the board to excuse themselves so that MPs could decide on the way forward.

EFF MP Floyd Shivambu earlier suggested that the committee immediately dissolve the board, but Parliament’s legal advisor, Ntuthuzelo Vanara, cautioned that MPs could fall foul of the law if they don’t follow correct procedures. 

According to him, the board can only be dissolved after an inquiry into their fitness of office.

“Today’s committee meeting doesn’t constitute an inquiry,” he said, warning that such a process could be a lengthy one. 

“After an inquiry the committee needs to formulate charges and then the board must be allowed to consider them with the help of legal advice,” Vanara said.

MPs, however, opined that the process would be quicker, as the committee already has enough proof that the board is not functioning properly.

“Is it necessary to formulate charges? I think not,” DA MP James Selfe said.

“We can tell the board what we’ve decided and give them the option to resign, or face an inquiry.”

IFP MP Liezl van der Merwe agreed, saying the committee should write to speaker Baleka Mbete recommending the dissolution of the SABC board.

“We have evidence showing the board is no longer fit and proper to govern. An inquiry would be damaging to their careers going forward.” 

If National Assembly accepts the committee’s recommendation that the board must be dissolved, the matter is then referred to President Jacob Zuma who must appoint an interim board in collaboration with the national assembly.

In March 2013, the then SABC board was also dissolved, following the resignation of chairperson Ben Ngubane and his deputy, Thami ka Plaatjie. Six board members followed suite and the board could no longer function as it had only three members left. 

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