'I'm not fighting SABC board' - Communications Minister

Communications Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngoane
Communications Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngoane

Another showdown has erupted at the SABC between the board and the Communications Minister over the appointment of executives.

This comes after Mammoloko Kubayi-Ngubane claimed she was not consulted on the imminent appointment of Chris Maroleng as COO.

Minister Kubayi-Ngubane released a statement on Monday, saying it was her "responsibility to present any appointment of executives of the state-owned entities" under her department, including the cash-strapped SABC.

Board chairman Bongumusa Makhathini yesterday hit back, disputing the claims.

"The board wishes to state for the record that it has acted and will continue to act lawfully, and in line with the letter and spirit of the interim court order on this matter. This includes the requirement of consultations with the shareholder representative.

"The appointment of the successful candidate for COO is still being finalised."

Sowetan has learnt that vetting was the only outstanding process before Maroleng's is confirmed.

The interim order of the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria stated: "The board will make any permanent or interim appointment of an executive member... only after consulting with the minister of communications."

It came as Kubayi-Ngubane appealed an October judgment which had curbed her powers and allowed the SABC board to appoint executives without seeking her approval.

The EFF has accused the minister of attempting to infringe on the independence of the SABC board. In all stages of the appointments of [SABC] executives, there is nowhere it includes cabinet," said EFF MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi.

Media Monitoring Africa's William Bird said the latest showdown seemed like another "own goal" in matters affecting the SABC.

In a statement yesterday, Kubayi-Ngubane rejected any suggestion she was on a collision course with the board. "The board fired and hires the executives not the minister, I don't want to appoint."

She said the issue of bringing up the cabinet, related to convincing lenders that whoever is appointed at the SABC had the support.

"That's what the lenders want... the SABC can't even borrow money at the moment."

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