Smuts denies decree at SABC

Waghied Misbach

Waghied Misbach

The ANC has rejected accusations that its leadership has interfered in the selection of board members of the SABC.

ANC spokesman Smuts Ngonyama said he noted with "dismay the media reports on the selection of SABC board members".

"The ANC dismisses as mischievous and fanciful suggestions by certain news organisations and their so-called anonymous sources that we had sought to impose a set of individuals to serve on the board of the public broadcaster," said Ngonyama.

His comments come in the wake of reports alleging that the parliamentary ANC caucus was deeply divided on the selection of members to the board.

It was claimed this was because of a last-minute order from Luthuli House that imposed a list on the parliamentary caucus. ANC caucus spokesman Moloto Mothapo has denied the claims.

It was also claimed that the Minister in the Presidency, Essop Pahad, had a "hidden hand" in the selection of the board members.

This is because his head of ministerial services Louis du Plooy had reportedly nominated businessman Gloria Serobe.

Serobe claimed in her public interview that she did not know who nominated her, but Du Plooy said he had discussed it with her, according to reports.

The board was approved by the national assembly and has to be ratified by President Thabo Mbeki.

The opposition political parties in parliament want Serobe and lawyer Christine Qunta to withdraw their names.

Ngonyama said the ANC respects the process set out in the law which regulates the manner in which SABC board members are selected.

He said that people who did not have their preferences selected "now stoop to the level of addressing their grievances in the media".

He said the ANC parliamentary caucus had the "right to consult its leadership on issues such as the selection of the SABC board.

"We therefore find it outrageous that a legitimate internal consultation process could amount to a decree," said Ngonyama.