New Communications Minister Ayanda Dlodlo must equip the interim board to properly fix the SABC. And they must start with the broadcaster's finances.
This is the opinion of Duduetsang Makuse, coordinator of SOS Coalition, a pressure group campaigning for a successful public broadcaster.
According to a statement from the SABC, Dlodlo met with the interim board, and was satisfied that the members were properly appointed and had made progress with all the necessary requirements, and could continue with their work.
Dlodlo’s predecessor, Faith Muthambi, said last week that the board members must first meet certain security requirements before they could continue with their jobs.
According to SABC spokesperson, Kaizer Kganyago, after the meeting with the minister, the board held their first special meeting over “the urgent matter of the SABC fulfilling all its financial obligations, including payment of service providers”.
“The interim board and the communications ministry shall remain engaged with this immediate challenge,” said Kganyago.
On Sunday, City Press reported that the SABC had only R104 million available to pay creditors, and wouldn’t be able to pay all its bills come March 31.
The SABC reported that James Aguma, acting chief executive of the broadcaster, said there was a major drop in advertising at the SABC in the last quarter.
He was responding to Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts during a visit to the public broadcaster last week after it emerged that the SABC had less than R100 million in its coffers.
Makuse said the financial meltdown at the SABC was the first thing that Dlodlo and the interim board, which was appointed by President Zuma on March 26, needed to attend to.
Asked what she thought about Dlodlo’s appointment, Makuse said, given her background, she was a good appointment, although it was unclear what criteria President Jacob Zuma used to make his decision.
Dlodlo served as deputy minister of public service and administration before Zuma promoted her during his late-night Cabinet reshuffle.
She holds several degrees in management and worked in several public and private companies in a managerial role.
The five-member interim board consists of chairperson Khanyisile Kweyama, deputy chairperson Mathatha Tsedu, John Matisson, Febe Potgieter-Gqubule and Krish Naidoo.
They were appointed after the report of the ad hoc committee that was investigating the SABC board was accepted.
This interim board has six months to tackle a host of recommendations from the ad hoc committee’s report to implement at the SABC, including appointing competent people to top posts, and the investigation of questionable transactions.
*City Press’ coverage of the SABC board interviews was done in partnership with SOS coalition, a civil society coalition committed to, and campaigning for, public broadcasting that is in the public interest. Visit the SOS coalition for more.