SABC board interviews: 2 controversial candidates on day 5

The interviews for potential members of the SABC board took a dip in Johannesburg yesterday. And today’s offering does not promise to be any less lacklustre.

One of the more colourful characters who will appear today, however, is Thidziambi Tshivhase-Phendla.

According to the CV that she submitted to the parliamentary portfolio committee on communications, she is dean of education at the University of Venda. According to newspaper reports, however, she was relieved of her duties last year amid an irregular tender and sexual harassment scandal.

Another candidate who has been in the news is Sipho Luyolo Majombozi, accused of irregularities when serving as chair of the Eastern Cape Gambling and Betting Board.

Yesterday, on day four of the interviews, former SABC executive Charlotte Mampane returned to the fray. She is known for her rocky relationship with current acting COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng as well as for eavesdropping on an SABC board meeting, leading to her departure from the broadcaster.

Now CEO of the National Lotteries Board, Mampane spoke about the switch to digital broadcasting being an opportunity for the SABC to position itself as credible.

She commented on it being inappropriate for the board to become involved in executive functions but refused to answer why she left the SABC in 2009, except to say she was asked to “go home”.

Chair of the current interim SABC board Ellen Tshabalala also appeared, praising SABC and Sentech’s new free-to-air satellite TV platform announced yesterday and decrying non-accountability within the SABC.

The stand-out candidate yesterday was Mpumalanga auditor Rachel Kalidass, who is chair of numerous audit committees.

She was one of several young candidates on the shortlist and it’s clear the board is looking for an intergenerational mix. Many of the younger candidates, nominated by youth agencies, understandably lack corporate experience and the committee will have to weigh up the value of their visions versus their CVs.

On the other end of the spectrum, the committee was clearly impressed by the human rights track record of attorney Krish Naidoo.

Johannes Jacobus Rossouw was another older, clearly informed candidate who described himself as an “apolitical technocrat” and an advocate of BBB: “bring back boring”.

“BBB” he said, meant a functional, stable, uncontroversial board that is not in the news.

The final six candidates will be interviewed today.

City Press and the SOS Coalition will be covering proceedings and have provided brief profiles of today’s candidates below.

Dudusile Ledwaba
One of the youngest candidates for the board, Raisibe Dudusile Ledwaba has a post-grad diploma in accounting and business science from the University of Cape Town. She works as an article clerk for Ernst & Young and was nominated for the board by the ANC Youth League.

Her board governance experience is as a subcommittee member of African Women Chartered Accountants.

Bongani Khumalo
Professor Bongani Augustine Khumalo began his career in communications and is today the chief executive of Gidani (Pty) Ltd, the operators of the National Lottery.

He is also chair of Bongani Rainmaker Logistics and of Gravitas Group.

Khumalo is an independent nonexecutive director at Anglo American Platinum and is yet another candidate who will bring a knowledge of corporate governance to the board. Broadcasting may not be his expertise, but If there’s one thing Khumalo knows, it’s a parastatal. Starting his tertiary education at Fort Hare, he has worked as a deputy CE at Eskom (who also seconded him to the presidency) and chair at Transnet.

An honorary professor of industrial psychology at the University of Stellenbosch, he is also chair of the university’s HIV/Aids management centre. He was an early HIV/Aids advisor to the Mbeki presidency. Khumalo founded the South African Men’s Forum.

Sipho Majombozi
According to press reports, ANC stalwart and disgraced Eastern Cape Gambling and Betting Board chair landed himself another job in the gaming industry earlier this year when appointed to the Gauteng Gambling Board after being put under pressure to resign his previous position in the Eastern Cape.

A forensic investigation painted a bleak picture of that board’s operations under Majombozi, leading to an investigation by the public protector (PP).

The PP ruled that his conduct was “improper and constitutes maladministration” in light of his spending R2 million on withdrawing charges against and settling a dispute with the board’s CEO.

Majombozi is chair and CEO of Kabusha Holdings and a council member of the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority in Pretoria.

He was director of the National Youth Development Forum from 1994 to 1995 and trained as an educationalist, with a masters from the University of Melbourne.

Thidziambi Tshivhase-Phendla
Her CV submitted to the portfolio committee still lists her as the dean of education at the University of Venda, but Professor Thidziambi Sylvia Tshivhase-Phendla’s LinkedIn profile lists the university as “previous work experience”.

Newspapers reported on her having been dismissed from the university amid a scandal. Tshivhase-Phendla has a doctoral degree in education administration and is an education management specialist. She started as a school principal and became a lecturer, first at the University of Pretoria.

She has served on boards in the private and educational sectors. She is a director at The Study Clinic and executive chair of Fresh-i Holdings.

She made the news late in 2011 when Sowetan reported that she had been dismissed by the University of Venda for “gross misconduct relating to tenders at the institution”. The newspaper reported this had to do with inflating prices for a cleaning tender.

Before her dismissal Tshivhase-Phendla had made “damning allegations that she was sexually harassed by the institution’s vice-chancellor”.

The paper reported that the director of public prosecutions declined to prosecute the vice-chancellor.

The university’s website no longer profiles her as dean of education. It will be up to the committee to ask for clarity on the matter.

As chair of Fresh-i she is a manager at an enterprise called Teta, “South Africa’s first and only free call and chat service”.

Teta’s website says Tshivase-Phendla is “currently Editor-in-Chief of University of Venda’s Journal of Educational Studies”, is widely published academically and has worked as a consultant for global companies.

The website for Fresh-i appears defunct.

Aaron Tshidzumba
Dr Aaron Ndivhoniswani Tshidzumba received his doctorate in arts communications from North West University after having set out studying television production.

He works as a lecturer in broadcast journalism at the Tshwane University of Technology.

He has served as CEO of the National Electronic Media Institute of South Africa and in numerous academic positions.

Last year he was shortlisted for the communications committee at the industry regulator, Icasa, and also interviewed as a potential replacement on the SABC board after Clifford Motsepe resigned.

Mbulaheni Maguvhe
Professor Obert Mbulaheni Maguvhe also holds a PhD, in education for the visually impaired. The educationalist began his academic career at the University of the North.

He is an associate professor at the University of South Africa and has worked extensively at the South African National Council for the Blind. He began his career as a teacher at Tshilidzini Special School, Shayandima, Limpopo.

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