Actors, a vice-chancellor and a former head of SABC news are among those in line for a spot in the 12-member SABC board.
Parliament is looking for people with relevant qualifications, expertise and experience in the fields of broadcasting policy and technology, broadcasting regulation, media law, business practice and finance, marketing, journalism, entertainment and education, social and labour issues to sit on the new board.
Among those with such experience is Snuki Zikalala, the former SABC head of news, who is one of the 363 public nominations and applicants who answered the call. Candidates for the SABC board are either nominated by members of the public, while a few apply to the parliamentary committee themselves. It is not clear whether Zikalala applied or was nominated and by whom.
Zikalala left the SABC in 2009 after having been suspended the previous year while the broadcaster was probing allegations of misconduct. During his tenure at the SABC, Zikalala was accused of being part of a faction that ensured news coverage favoured former president Thabo Mbeki in his power struggle with President Jacob Zuma before the 2007 ANC conference. He was also accused of blacklisting commentators critical of Mbeki’s government.
Zikalala is not the only nominee who has a previous relationship with the SABC. Rachel Kalidass and Desmond Golding, who served in the last two boards respectively, and the five members of the interim board – Febe Potgieter-Gqubule, John Matisonn, Mathata Tsedu, Khanyisile Kweyama and Krish Naidoo – who also served on the board that was dissolved last year – are also in the list. The interim board’s term ends next month.
Popular actors Jack Devnarain and Tony Kgoroge are also nominated and so is respected civil servant and lawyer Mamodupi Mohlala-Mulaudzi and respected academic and leader of African Indigenous religion Nokuzola Mndende. Former South African Airways board member Yakhe Kwinana has also applied. Former ANC Youth League deputy president Ronald Lamola and well-known lawyer Zola Majavu are also nominated.
Professor Chris Brink is a vice-chancellor and professor of mathematics at the Newcastle University in England. He has a BSc in mathematics and computer science, honours in mathematics, master’s in philosophy and a PhD in algebra of relations.
Brink also serves on the boards of the Newcastle University and Stellenbosch University.
Parliament’s portfolio committee on communications postponed the shortlisting of candidates which was scheduled for yesterday to next Tuesday because MPs only received CVs of applicants on Monday. The committee will cut the list to 36 candidates who will be interviewed towards the end of this month over three days.
DA MP Phumzile van Damme suggested the shortlist be published on the Parliament website in line with the Broadcasting Act and to make sure the process was open.
“We must also give the public and civil society an opportunity to comment on those candidates … similar to the process followed in appointing the public protector last year,” said Van Damme.
She said this was because civil society organisations may have resources that MPs don’t have to make sure that they have full information about the candidates. The committee acceded to this request and the public will have a say on the shortlisted names.
The ANC’s Sisisi Tolashe attributed the large numbers of applicants to “the sterling job that was done by the ad hoc committee as well as by the interim board”.
She said this had sent a message that Parliament wanted “the best board this time around”. “We wouldn’t have had this kind of numbers of people who have shown interest if that was not the case,” she said.