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National Assembly approves list of SABC board members, DA wants amendment

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The National Assembly has approved the recommended list of eight names to sit on the board of the SABC, including anti-apartheid activist Saths Cooper.

On Tuesday, 19 March 2019, the communications committee presented a report to the National Assembly in Cape Town, which recommended the names of eight individuals to sit on the board of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), and was duly approved.

The candidates included Mary Papayya, Jasmina Patel, Advocate Motshedi Benjamin Lekalakala, Professor Saths Cooper, Dr Marcia Socikwa, Mamaduphi Mohlala-Mulaudzi, Bernedette Muthien and David Maimela.

The communications committee chairperson, Hlengiwe Mkhize, said that the committee prioritised representation and equality.

“The committee also emphasised the representation of the demographics of the country by ensuring that the board is capacitated by five women and three men,” she said.

This recommendation comes after four board members resigned in late 2018 and left vacancies that needed to be filled urgently. Although the recommended list has been approved through the African National Congress (ANC) using majority vote to approve said recommendation, opposition parties have spoken out against the list. The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and the Democratic Alliance (DA) have cited inexperience in the broadcasting sector from some of the candidates, adding that certain individuals allegedly have a poor track record in governance.

“Professor Cooper is [a] candidate we strongly disagree with. He has no broadcasting experience and during his tenure as vice-chancellor of the University of Durban-Westville, a report by the minister of education found him to be manipulative and prone to surrounding himself with acolytes.

“We believe that Professor Cooper will destroy the SABC. During the interviews he came across as arrogant and he will not be a team player. Professor Cooper displayed disdain and contempt for members of the committee which is worrisome. We’ve written to President Ramaphosa to say he must not be included on the SABC board,” said DA MP Phumzile Van Damme.

Abenathi Gqomo
[email protected]

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