Good idea, wrong move

On paper there are good reasons for creating a mechanism by which parliament is able to act in the case of an SABC board failing to function effectively.

The sponsors of the Broadcasting Act Amendment Bill, which parliament passed yesterday, gives the House of Assembly exactly those rights.

The bill also provides for the responsibilities of the board to be executed by an interim committee until the appointment of a new panel.

Unfortunately, under these circumstances, the ability or inability of a board is linked to whether it sings the tune of those who have the power to dissolve it.

The Act, should President Kgalema Motlanthe sign it, will once again place power on the hands of a group of individuals whose main interests would be with the party rather than of the South African public.

The SABC, lest some forget, is and should be a public broadcaster and not a state institution or party mouthpiece.

One of the ways of ensuring that an SABC board is made up of people who serve the public interest would be for its members to be appointed in a similar manner as judges - a transparent process that does not require Parliament to rubber-stamp the decision.

Civil society needs to start making louder noises to ensure this happens.