Why Zuma is stalling SABC board appointment
ANC source says the days of kowtowing to the president are over
President Jacob Zuma has been accused of stalling the naming of a new full-time SABC board in an attempt to interfere with the appointment of the broadcaster's next executive management.
ANC MPs with direct knowledge of the matter said Zuma objected to most of the recommended 12 board members but party legislators were defying his opposition to them.
Zuma plunged the SABC into a fresh crisis this week by failing to approve the names of a new board to replace the interim board, whose six-month tenure ended on Tuesday.
This means the SABC, which reported a net loss of just under R1-billion this year - double the previous year's figure - is now operating without nonexecutive directors and only an acting CEO, acting chief financial officer and acting chief operating officer. It has to regularly consult Communications Minister Ayanda Dlodlo before taking executive decisions.
MPs and civil society organisations have slammed Zuma for not acting swiftly in approving the names of the 12 board members sent to him by the National Assembly three weeks ago, saying this raised suspicions about his intentions.
'Applying his mind'
An ANC MP who serves on the portfolio committee on communications, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Zuma was reluctant to sign off on the names recommended by the National Assembly because he did not trust some of the candidates, including the chairwoman of the interim board, Khanyisile Kweyama, and her deputy, Mathatha Tsedu.Zuma was also said to be unimpressed at the inclusion in the list of recommended board members of Rachel Kalidass, who previously served on the board during the chairmanships of Ben Ngubane and Mbulaheni Maguvhe. Zuma's spokesman, Bongani Ngqulunga, did not address specific questions on the issue but said the president was still "applying his mind".
Zuma needed to satisfy himself that the recommended board members were fit and proper people with no criminal convictions, Ngqulunga said - something the communications committee has already done.
"Past experience has taught us that the Presidency should do due diligence despite the process followed by the National Assembly. The Presidency is in contact with the relevant government departments to ensure that the due diligence process is completed as soon as possible," he said.
Kweyama and Tsedu led the charge in the removal of Hlaudi Motsoeneng and members of his inner circle such as James Aguma, who have been blamed for the financial disaster at Auckland Park.