Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Communications minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni now wants CEO Madoda Mxakwe to be accounting authority of boardless SABC, says broadcaster isn't affected without directors.

by Thinus Ferreira

South Africa's communications minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni now wants SABC CEO Madoda to be the struggling public broadcaster's accounting authority since there's no board of directors who are legally required to fulfil this role, and says the SABC isn't negatively affected by not having a board of directors.

The plan comes after South Africa's failed to appoint a new SABC board after the previous board's term expired on 15 October 2022.

Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, South Africa's minister of communications and digital technologies, in a written response to a question from the EFF political party's MP Vuyani Pambo, noted that the department has now asked the country's National Treasury for the SABC CEO to be made the broadcaster's accounting authority and that the SABC is allegedly not negatively affected by the lack of a board of directors.

Vuyani Pambo wanted to know what the impact is of the month-long and accounting delay of parliament's portfolio committee on communications to select candidates from a shortlist to be rubberstamped by president Cyril Ramaphosa as the new SABC board.

The last SABC board's term ended on 15 October with the broadcaster rudderless since then with no board of directors. Previously an illegal plan was hacked to try and stock the SABC board with "temporary SABC board members".

The portfolio committee on communications which started too late with the process blames South Africa State Security Agency (SSA) for taking too long to do security vetting and background checks of the shortlisted candidates.

The SSA in turn blames the South African police, saying there is an issue with the police's fingerprint system.

Khumbudzo Ntshavheni in her written reply said that the SABC being without a board was not impacted negatively by anything and that the SABC isn't run by its board of directors.

"In terms of the SABC's corporate plan, there are no scheduled matters that cannot be processed by the entity without board approval," Khumbudzo Ntshavheni wrote.

She also suggested in her response that if things do come up that need SABC board decisions, that sections of South Africa's Public Finance Management Act could be activated to deal with that.

"The department has since requested the approval of the National Treasury regarding the designation of the CEO as an accounting authority of the SABC," Khumbudzo Ntshavheni noted.