Saturday, March 9, 2019

South Africa's parliament lies and says SABC board candidates interviewed showed the required level of expertise. They didn't.

The chairperson of South Africa's parliament portfolio committee - tasked with oversight of the SABC - again lied, saying that the shortlisted SABC board candidates interviewed this week for the vacant positions at the South African public broadcaster showed the required level of expertise in different fields and that the committee has confidence in the calibre of candidates.

That's a lie.

Several of the 24 shortlisted candidates don't have the required level of expertise and they are not all a high calibre level of candidates.

There are 8 vacancies on the unstable and inquorate board of the struggling and financially battered SABC.

"We are mainly satisfied with the proportional representation with regards to gender, age and racial diversity in line with national demographics. We view the level of interest to serve on the SABC board as a sign of confidence in the entity," says Hlengiwe Mkhize, committee chairperson in a statement issued on Friday.

Hlengiwe Mkhize said the candidates demonstrated the required level of expertise in different fields, including corporate governance, law, finance, accounting, art and culture as well as journalism.


The process of filling and appoint the SABC board is flawed and remains flawed, since the system is flawed, with politicians (and politicians want power) choosing and appointing the SABC board.

To understand the game dynamics, watch Game of Thrones on M-Net (DStv 101) and really do yourself a favour and read Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner.

You will come to understand why the situation with the ever-troubled SABC board will never change until the system - and the way that it is set up to deliver the people to that group - changes.

Let's analyse Hlengiwe Mkhize's face-value statements about the SABC board candidates.

Let's start with the "level of interest to serve on the SABC board as a sign of confidence in the entity".

Out of the total applications, roughly a third were from clueless interns looking for job training and wanting to do internships at the SABC. These 90 were discarded.

It left 233. 80 of these were actually tacked on from the previous time that vacancies on the SABC board were advertised and shortlisted earlier in 2018 and not received during December when SABC board vacancies were advertised again.

In reality, not that many people applied, and out of those who did apply a lot were young people seeking internships. That isn't a good or proper measure or indicator of either interest to serve on the SABC board or a "sign of confidence".

Next, let's look at Hlengiwe Mkhize PR assertion about the candidates demonstrating the required level of expertise in different fields.

Firstly, there was a lack under the 24 SABC board member candidates when it comes to a real background and experience in the actual business of broadcasting and journalism. Several had dubious levels of so-called "expertise".

The majority admitted to having no broadcast experience. Yet these are the 24 "best" selected out of close to 400 applications. That is bad.

Several had expressed previous support for the famously matricless and destructive fired former SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng or having had done nothing when they could have, and saying at the time he was the victim and "targeted". Why were they even shortlisted?

The former SABC CEO Lulama Mokhobo twice quit the SABC before, yet wants back for a third time to the SABC during an even more difficult time for the broadcaster when she couldn't cope with Hlaudi Motsoeneng who was her underling. Why was she even shortlisted?

One admitted she doesn't watch SABC television.

That's like applying at an ice-cream factory but during the job interview admitting you don't really like their product and haven't tasted it.

One wants South African viewers who don't pay their SABC TV licences cut off from seeing the South African public broadcaster.

One expressed a desire (and unknowingly editorial interference) for the SABC's SABC News division to - just like Hlaudi Motsoeneng ordered - "tell good stories".

One didn't know what digital terrestrial television (DTT) was or stood for, or what OTT (over-the-top) means.

One thought M-Net was the SABC.