New SABC board nominations full of ANC influence: report

Interns of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) were used to nominate ANC-affiliated members to the SABC board, which were fast-tracked to the position by MPs for the party, the Sunday Times reported.

Parliament’s portfolio committee on communications released the names of 12 people recommended to President Jacob Zuma for appointment to the SABC board on Tuesday (17 September).

However, according to the Sunday Times report, a source has indicated that in putting through the names, MPs were simply given a list to rubber-stamp.

The paper indicated that it had seen a memorandum by Lindiwe Zulu, head of the ANC’s subcommittee on communications, showing how the party had identified “good candidates” long before parliament put together its list.

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

The full list is as follows:

  • Ellen Tshabalala;
  • Noluthando Gosa;
  • Vusumuzi Mavuso;
  • Ronnie Lubisi;
  • Thembinkosi Bonakele;
  • Rachel Kalidass;
  • Nomvuyo Mhlakaza;
  • Bongani Khumalo;
  • Mbulaheni Obert Maguvhe;
  • Krish Naidoo;
  • Aaron Tshidzumba; and
  • Hope Zinde.

According to the Sunday Times, the following members were nominated through purely political means:

  • Nomvuyo Mhlakaza is wife of ANC MP Buti Manamela and a member of the national task team of the ANC Youth League – she was nominated by Luthuli House – reportedly at the expense of broadcast policy researcher, Kate Skinner.
  • Krish Naidoo, a legal adviser to the ANC’s national disciplinary committee, was nominated by ANC head of communications, Keith Khoza at expense of Zola Majavu, a lawyer and former PSL prosecutor.
  • Bongani Khumalo, CEO of Gidani, which runs the National Lottery, was nominated by Rerani Netshilema, a 24-year-old intern in the communications division.
  • Businesswoman Ellen Tshabalala was reportedly nominated by another ANC intern, David Shabangu.
  • Noluthando Gosa, also a businesswoman, was nominated by Cikiswa Xoswa, a personal assistant to ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu.

According to the paper, Lindiwe Zulu refuted the claims that the ANC was interfering, saying that the party had a “high interest” at the SABC.

“That does not necessarily mean we want to interfere as the ANC,” she reportedly said, adding that it was an insult to suggest that the party nominations were not competent to sit on the SABC board.

Opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, cried foul over the appointments, saying that the ANC had influenced the board in order to ensure positive coverage of the 2014 elections.

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New SABC board nominations full of ANC influence: report