Communications Minister Faith Muthambi will be asked by parliament why she authorised new regulations which gave her “sweeping powers” at the SABC, according to a report by the Sunday Times.
The report stated that Muthambi was able to “purge the broadcaster” of anyone who opposed executive Hlaudi Motsoeneng, using these powers.
Humphrey Maxegwana, chairman of the parliamentary communications committee, will lead an inquiry into why Muthambi approved the new regulations in 2014.
The inquiry will also look into the recent resignation of multiple SABC board members and the SABC’s requirement for 90% local content on its platforms.
The regulations in question are the SABC’s amended memorandum of incorporation – which allows Muthambi to bypass the broadcaster’s board in passing resolutions.
She is also able to convene board meetings at any time.
The report stated that the regulations also allow for the firing of directors without having to engage with parliament or the president.
Making Motsoeneng COO
Several board members opposed one of Muthambi’s first moves as minister in 2014 – appointing Motsoeneng as COO – and the powers she subsequently awarded herself.
Former board member Hope Zinde opposed the move to make Motsoeneng COO, but was reportedly told: “Baba [President Jacob Zuma] loves Hlaudi, he loves him so much, we must support him.”
Thabisile Khumalo, Krish Naidoo, and Vusi Mavuso have all resigned from the SABC board in recent weeks.
I am not your PA
In a related report, the Sunday Times has stated that Deputy Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams is involved in a “turf war” with Muthambi.
The report stated that Ndabeni-Abrahams has reported Muthambi to Zuma for “treating her like a PA”.
Ndabeni-Abrahams said she and Muthambi have no working relationship.
“She just believes that she’s equivalent to the appointing authority, [that] she’s the president,” said Ndabeni-Abrahams.
“The Department of Communications has been described as a shambles under Muthambi,” stated the report.
The full report is in the Sunday Times of 30 October 2016.