National Assembly approves recommended list of SABC board candidates

The National Assembly on Tuesday approved the recommended list of candidates to fill eight vacancies on the SABC board.

Last week the portfolio committee on communications finalised a list of eight candidates to serve on the board.

The candidates are Mary Papayya, Jasmina Patel, Advocate Motshedi Benjamin Lekalakala, Professor Saths Cooper, Dr Marcia Socikwa, Mamaduphi Mohlala-Mulaudzi, Bernedette Muthien, David Maimela.

This follows the resignation of four board members in late 2018 leaving vacancies that urgently needed to be filled.

The DA and EFF have objected to the final list submitted to the National Assembly on the grounds that not all candidates are suitable because of a lack of experience in the broadcast sector, and certain individuals allegedly have a poor track record in terms of governance.

The IFP's Liezl van Der Merwe suggested that some of the candidates were "cherry picked" by the ANC to serve the party's interests.

In response, ANC MP Mziwamadoda Kalako, who is also on the communications committee, defended the candidate selection. He said there were only disagreements on certain candidates, not all. He said the candidates had proven track records of being independent in fulfilling their responsibilities.

Following the debate, a total of 198 MPs voted in favour and 78 voted against the recommended candidates. The names will be forwarded to the president for consideration.

The public broadcaster is facing liquidity challenges, threatening its status as a going concern, SABC CEO Madoda Mxakwe told Parliament last week.

The broadcaster, which is still reliant on funding from government, said if nothing is done to help the SABC it could be financially insolvent by the end of March.

Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams has told Parliament that the department is engaging with National Treasury for funding for the state broadcaster.