‘We’re about to hand over control of the SABC to the ANC’

The National Assembly has endorsed the nomination of 12 people for the new SABC board despite criticism from opposition parties.

The DA, Congress of the People and Inkatha Freedom Party opposed the move, forcing a vote.

The ANC had its way as the ballot saw 203 MPs voting in favour of the 12 nominees, while 78 voted against them. There was one abstention.

Earlier, loud heckling was heard from opposition benches when Parliament’s communications portfolio committee chairperson Sikhumbuzo Kholwane took to the podium and defended the appointment of ANC-aligned nominees.

“I’m convinced that the calibre of candidates is testament to the quality of depth our country is blessed with,” he said.

“It (the proposed board) reflects the kind of patriotism needed to drive our country forward,” he said.

On the skills of board members, Kholwane said he was convinced they chose the “right people for the job”.

“They are experienced enough … and this is a very strong team.”

Kholwane said there was no problem with ruling party members being on the board.

“We deliver as a ruling party that’s why labour is supporting this bill,” he said.

DA MP Marian Shinn responded by saying the ANC members on the committee “betrayed South Africans”.

“The ANC would not compromise … it refused to consider any name submitted by opposition parties. It does not represent the best choice of appropriate skills available,” she said.

The fact that the committee did not choose board members from a broad cross-section of South African society was also a concern.

“We are about to hand over control of the SABC to the ANC,” said Shinn.

Cope MP Juli Killian said the ANC again resorted to “cadre deployment”.

“They refused point blank to accept even one name supported by the opposition,” Killian said.

IFP MP Liezel van der Merwe was equally dissatisfied with the ANC’s choices for the board, going as far as to say its composition was open to legal scrutiny.

“It’s now uncertain whether the SABC sinking ship can be rescued,” she said.

The list of nominated board members will be sent to President Jacob Zuma, who makes the appointments.

The list includes the current interim chairperson of the board, Ellen Tshabalala, her deputy, Noluthando Gosa, and a past member of the broadcaster’s board, Vusumuzi Mavuso.

The others are Ronnie Lubisi, Thembinkosi Bonakele, Rachel Kalidass, Nomvuyo Mhlakaza, Bongani Khumalo, Mbulaheni Obert Maguvhe, Krish Naidoo, Aaron Tshidzumba and Hope Zinde.

Parliament dissolved the SABC board earlier this year after infighting caused mass resignations.

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