The DA has welcomed a decision by the ANC in Parliament today (18 June 2013) not to rush through an amendment to the Broadcasting Act 4 of 1999, said DA Shadow Minister of Communications, Marian Shinn.
Shinn explained that the amendment aimed to extend the lifespan of the current interim board of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), which expires in September 2013.
“At today’s portfolio committee meeting ANC whip, Faith Muthambi, said that the amendment had been abandoned and that the process to advertise for nominations for the new SABC board would now start,” Shinn said.
An interim board member to replace Dr Iraj Abedian, who did not take up his interim board position, will be chosen by the committee on Wednesday, 19 June 2013, Shinn said.
“Rolling over the interim board would entrench a weak and inexperienced board, susceptible to the formidable pressures of the Minister, and a SABC executive management weak in corporate management expertise and experience,” Shinn said.
“The interim board was chosen three months ago in, what I believe, was a flawed process,” she added.
According to Shinn, political parties were asked to nominate candidates and choose board members based on brief motivations by the nominating parties, without interviewing or thoroughly vetting the nominees.
As the decisions were based on inadequate information, and because the DA felt that the process must be seen to be free from political interference, the DA did not participate in the selection of the interim board, Shinn said.
The comprehensive revision of the Broadcasting Act before any amendments can be made will be a lengthy process of public participation, debate and revision, and is likely to take several years to complete, Shinn explained.
“We could not run the risk of a weak interim board being rolled over in perpetuity, and likely rubber-stamping dubious executive management decisions,” Shinn said.