New SABC board gets baptism of fire

UNDER SIEGE: SABC headquarters
in Auckland Park, Johannesburg. Pic: Veli Nhlapo. 06/07/2009. © Sowetan.


SABC Television park head office  at  Johannesburg.
UNDER SIEGE: SABC headquarters in Auckland Park, Johannesburg. Pic: Veli Nhlapo. 06/07/2009. © Sowetan. SABC Television park head office at Johannesburg.

THE newly appointed SABC interim board is caught up in a power tussle, involving the ANC and its alliance partners, for its control.

THE newly appointed SABC interim board is caught up in a power tussle, involving the ANC and its alliance partners, for its control.

The board will oversee the running of the public broadcaster and ensure that the resources put into it are used for the benefit of the public.

The appointment of former MTN executive Irene Charnley, Unisa academic Phil Mtimkulu, media expert Libby Lloyd, advocate Leslie Sedibe and former communications committee member Suzanne Vos was approved by the National Assembly yesterday.

ButCosatu, the SACP and the Young Communist League have slammed the board, describing it as "unrepresentative and constituted by elitist businesswomen and men".

The three parties are said to have put forward the name of Numsa president Credic Gina as labour representative on the board.

Sowetan has been reliably informed that YCL leader Buti Manamela, who is also an ANC MP in Parliament's communications portfolio committee, declined to vote with the ANC in favour of the new interim board.

Manamela instead abstained in support of the YCL's position.

The SACP also slammed the board, calling it an "annoyance" which was made by "unmandated people who think they are better than anyone else in the alliance".

Cosatu spokesperson PatrickCraven said the group was "completely unbalanced" in terms of race and class, and dominated by business people. Moreover, there had been "virtually no consultation with civil society, or even the parliamentary portfolio committee".

There is a sense of déjà vu in the current tussle around the board because this is what happened to the previous board when it was appointed in 2007.

Cosatu and the SACP then objected that the board was not representative and was loaded with individuals who were loyal to former president Thabo Mbeki.

Craven questioned why the federation was now forced to highlight "exactly the same" objections it raised when the outgoing board was appointed in 2007.

Opposition parties have also expressed their lack of support for the interim board, claiming that the ANC has used its majority to push it through.

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