State rethinks policy on board members

THE government has had enough of seeing the same names on the boards and controlling bodies of state agencies and corporations, and wants to cast the net wider, spokesperson Themba Maseko said yesterday.

Briefing reporters after the bi-weekly cabinet meeting he said Barbara Hogan, Minister of Public Enterprises, had been asked to create a database of suitably qualified people to serve on the many boards that report to the state or to parliament.

"It is a bit of a problem to see the same names appearing on too many state boards and councils, so we need to broaden the skills base of these bodies," he said.

Maseko's comment echoed recent criticism from the SACP, which has complained that the same circle of black economic empowerment beneficiaries dominate the boards of state entities.

SACP deputy general secretary Jeremy Cronin told The Times in an interview last weekend that the party also believed there were too many state agencies and that not all of them needed an independent board.

Non-executive board members receive fees for meetings they attend and also have an inside track on many of the plans and strategies of government.

"We are beginning to get a better sense of the kind of skills, the type of individual that is needed to serve on these boards," Maseko said.

"We want to make sure that we have a thorough, rigorous process of selecting people that will add value in terms of improving governance," he said.