Non-profits send lawyer's letter to Ramaphosa, Mbete over SABC board appointment

Lawyers representing non-profit organisations have written to the speaker of the national assembly and the president, among others, to ensure that there are no further delays in having eight vacancies on the SABC board filled.

The portfolio committee on communications on Thursday finalised a list of eight candidates to fill the vacancies of the public broadcaster's board. The report from the committee will be submitted to the National Assembly for debate and final adoption. Thereafter it will be submitted to the president to approve.

Law firm Webber Wentzel, which represents media Monitoring Africa and SOS Support Public Broadcasting Coalition, on Friday wrote to President Cyril Ramaphosa, Parliament Speaker Baleka Mbete, chair of the communications committee Professor Hlengiwe Mkhize and Parliament's Chief Legal Adviser Advocate Zuraya Adhikari, requesting clarity on when the appointments will be finalised.

"As set out in our previous letters, our clients are deeply concerned about the delays in appointing candidates to fill the eight vacancies on the SABC’s Board before Parliament rises on 20 March 2019," the letter read.

The organisations have stressed the importance of the public broadcaster being independent and "properly functioning" especially leading up to the national elections when it will have to provide coverage.

Webber Wentzel, on behalf of its clients, has requested confirmation when the national assembly will meet to debate and approve the list of candidates, by Monday March 18 at 12:00.

In the case that the deadline is not met, an urgent application will be made to the Constitutional Court to ensure the national assembly complies with its duties, the letter read.