The procedures for appointing the SABC’s board were to be reviewed, Communications Minister Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri said yesterday.
Speaking in the National Assembly during debate on her budget vote, she said there had been a national debate about the SABC as a result of views that had emerged out of the Assembly’s communications committee hearings.
“A very positive outcome of this has been a national focus on what our national broadcaster should be; what it should do to meet the needs of all and not some; and how it should be governed,” she said.
The diversity of views across a wide range of factors, including appointment processes and internal management effectiveness, its content, and relevance, had been expressed.
It was evident that the executive and Parliament would have to review the legislation and appointing processes.
It was necessary to ascertain whether this legislation, drawn up at a particular historical time, was relevant to the current historical conjuncture.
“The powers given to the appointing authority, the processes of appointing and removing the board members, the public broadcaster’s charter and the role of the executive and/or Parliament, clearly need reviewing without sacrificing the broadcaster’s independence, but clarifying the nature, content and form of that independence,” she said.
Matsepe-Casaburri said she had therefore requested reports from the board and management to assess the serious internal administrative and managerial problems within the SABC, and in respect of relations between the board and management, with a view to formulating appropriate legal, socio-political and economic recommendations.
“I suggest that the parliamentary committee consider leading a public hearing process on the public broadcaster best suited to our emerging democracy. The findings will inform our legislative processes in the department.”
The SABC board must go, the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) said yesterday. “The board must resign now, and make way for a more representative board to take over the public broadcaster, and run it in the interests of the majority of South Africans,” said spokesperson Patrick Craven.
“The federation will be glad to participate in public hearings and submit proposals for ways to ensure that the board is appointed in a more open and transparent manner and that its members are drawn from all sections of the population, including the labour movement.”