Media Monitoring Africa Protests SABC Appointment Procedures

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We note with great concern the apparent procedural irregularities in the appointment of the new head of news for the SABC. It is deeply disappointing that the SABC should have followed such a lengthy interview and appointment process for the new head of news only for it to be sabotaged in the selection and announcement of the successful candidate.

MMA supports calls by SOS and others for an urgent investigation by the SABC Board into the processes that were, or were not followed in announcing the appointment of Phil Molefe as the new head of News.

If on proper investigation by the Board, it emerges that the decision to appoint Mr Phil Molefe was improper and contravened Corporate Governance of the SABC then it would seem the best option for restoring trust and credibility of the new board would be served by the board chairperson Dr Ngubane and the GCEO, Mr Mokoetle tendering their resignations.

It is critical however, that in conducting such an investigation that the processes followed are public and transparent. Further we urge that the oversight bodies of the SABC work together, including putting in place mechanisms and prevention strategies to ensure the same or similar breaches are not repeated.

The oversight bodies, Parliament and the President, (as the appointing authorities for the board) also include the constitutionally guaranteed independent regulator ICASA. ICASA it should be noted has the key mandate, “to regulate broadcasting in the public interest”.

MMA calls on ICASA to play its role as a key oversight structure of the SABC. ICASA has the responsibility to take a position on this issue, because of the potential affect it could have on SABC programming and overall health of the institution.

ICASA is the independent body that has the responsibility to check if the “public interest” is being served and protected and is the only body mandated to do so. ICASA’s “silence” to date and failure to make its voice heard and assume any clear position in past SABC crises have allowed for the other oversight bodies to step in without any independent body checking on the potential compromise of the public interest.

In the run up to the World Cup it is crucial that the current furore is overcome and that the board is stabilised. We call on all involved to resolve this matter urgently and in the public interest.

Published on The Media Online

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