Friday, March 15, 2019

South Africa's ANC political party forces through its 8 new SABC board member choices for the country's public broadcaster despite objections from opposition parties.

The African National Congress (ANC) political party in South Africa forced through its 8 new SABC board member choices out of a shortlisted 24 for the South African public broadcaster, despite objections from the opposition parties the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and the Democratic Alliance (DA).

The shortlisted 24 were weak candidates, with several objections about several of them, a dubious track-record of some, and with almost all lacking in any practical or real background in broadcasting, production, or experience in the television and radio industry. One selected board member even said that she doesn't watch SABC television.

Parliament's portfolio committee on communications on Thursday chose 8 names out of a shortlisted 24, including Mamodupi Mohlala-Mulaudzi (former national consumer commissioner); Maya Papayya (founder member of the South African National Editors' Forum); the controversial academic Sathasivan Cooper; Jasmina Patel, Marcia Socikwa, Bernedette Muthien, David Maimela, and Motshedi Benjamin Lekalakala.

These 8 names are sent to the National Assembly for adoption; then to president Cyril Ramaphosa's desk - a rubber-stamped formality, which means that these 8 people are now going to fill the vacancies on the unstable SABC board that has been inquorate for months.

The DA and EFF objected to the ANC choosing Sathasivan Cooper whom they described as arrogant.

The DA were willing to support Maya PapayyaMarcia SocikwaMamodupi Mohlala-Mulaudzi and Jasmina Patel.

The EFF was willing to support Marcia Socikwa and Lulama Mokhobo and Nokuzola Ehrens who were part of the shortlisted 24.

"The DA will be writing to president Cyril Ramaphosa to raise a serious objection to the inclusion of Prof Sathasivan Cooper on the list," said Phumzile Van Damme, DA member of parliament (MP).

"Cooper has no broadcasting experience and during his tenure as vice-chancellor of the University of Durban-Westville, he was investigated for 11 governance issues. The investigator's report to the education minister portrayed Cooper as 'manipulative' and prone to 'surrounding himself with acolytes'."

Phumzile Van Damme said the DA believes that Sathasivan Cooper will destroy the SABC board.

"During the interview process he came across as extremely arrogant and he will not be a team player. Cooper displayed disdain for members of the committee which is worrisome: this is the same committee he will be reporting to as a member of the board."

Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, EFF MP, called for the inclusion of two more women at the very least besides the objection against Sathasivan Cooper and said "the SABC board, majority of it as being male, is not proper. There are already four males, adding the three will make it seven against five".

Mbuyiseni Ndlozi expressed disappointment at parliament's portfolio committee on communications and the parliamentarians itself, saying that the questioning during interviews was often embarrassing and brought into disrepute the work of parliament.