Things were lit in Parliament yesterday and deep into the night as the Portfolio Committee on Communications went in with difficult and probing questions for the second batch of candidates vying to serve on the SABC board.
We can expect the gloves to remain off today as the committee is determined not to nominate another board that will end up broken by infighting and ultimately dissolved.
We’ve been looking into today’s candidates – the final batch – and it’s another mixed bag. Look out for the current SABC interim board chair Khanyisile Kweyama and deputy chair Mathatha Tsedu. These interviews with current board members are proving the most revealing about what has gone wrong at the SABC and what is needed to fix the crisis as the country heads into a new digital broadcast era and the SABC reels from near bankruptcy.
The action starts at 9.30am and you can follow our tweets at @City_Press and our coverage partners @SOSCoalition to gain insight into the proceedings, which are being livestreamed at the SABC digital news channel.
1) Chris Navavie Greenland is a former Eastern Cape acting judge who studied law at the then University of Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe. His management experience includes being a claims executive at the Roads Accident Fund, where he rose to the position of acting chief executive in the early 2000s. He subsequently became the fund’s corporate counsel before he moved on. He also worked as a technical adviser to Namibia’s Motor Legislative Reform, which resulted in that country’s current motor crash compensation law. Before leaving Zimbabwe, he was a judge of that country’s high court and a member of the Harare Bar.
2) Cikizwa Dingi has a background in computer studies and business management, which she did through Damelin and New Horizons Computer Training. A trained Johannesburg metro cop, she began her career as a receptionist at a Cape Town hotel in 2000. She also worked as personal assistant in the office of the chief of the Johannesburg Metro Police Department in the mid-2000s, before taking up a post as a parliamentary liaison officer for the ANC caucus in Cape Town. She’s now the chief executive of women-owned Mbokodo VIP and a director of the aviation firm Pak Africa. When she’s not focusing on those businesses, she serves as a full-time volunteer in President Jacob Zuma’s Luthuli House office. She was in the news because of her links to fake sign language interpreter Thamsanqa Jantjie.
3) Mathatha Tsedu, a veteran journalist, newspaper editor and media activist, is an adjunct journalism professor at Wits University. He is deputy chair of the interim SABC board. For a while, he served as the executive director of the SA National Editor’s Forum. He was the project director for the Print and Digital Media Transformation Task Team, which studied transformation in the media and made further recommendations about what needed to be done to enforce transformation. He’s the former editor of both City Press and the Sunday Times. He was once the deputy head of news at the SABC and so he knows the practical territory well.
4) Nkosana Absalom Mbokane is the chief executive of TechnoChange Solutions, a firm offering information and corporate governance services. Prior to his current employment, he worked as an information technology general manager at the Perishable Products Export Control Board. He holds a masters in business administration from Mancosa, and has held senior management positions at Chevron and British American Tobacco South Africa. His resumé shows that he has no known previous media expertise nor experience in being a director of a major corporation. He is, however, a non-executive director of the little-known Telecommunications and Broadcasting Performance and Innovation Network.
5) Desmond Golding has previously served as an SABC board member and chaired the board’s audit committee. A holder of a string of qualifications in finance, management, banking and international relations from local and international tertiary institutions, he’s currently studying for his doctor of philosophy in central banking and financial market reform. His resumé reveals that he speaks seven languages, including isiZulu, Afrikaans and Setswana. Currently working as the managing director of Khabran Investments, he previously headed KwaZulu-Natal’s department of economic development and tourism. He’s a former special adviser to ministers of public works and sports and recreation. He has also held senior management positions at Standard Bank and the SA Reserve Bank.
6) Michael Markovitz is a founder and director of Element36, a consultancy specialising in providing strategy and technology for media, entertainment, digital businesses and non-governmental organisations. He’s a board member of SOS, the civil society coalition that campaigns for public broadcasting in the public interest. A journalism and law graduate from Rhodes and Wits universities, he has extensive experience in media and regulation. He was a member of the broadcast commission of the Film and Allied Workers Organisation in the 1990s and assisted in drafting the 1993 memorandum of understanding between the ANC and the apartheid government on the appointment of the first SABC board to serve in our democracy. He’s also worked as an adviser at Icasa and chaired Primedia Digital.
7) Khanyisile Kweyama currently chairs the five-member interim board of the SABC, and has been part of the team that acted against Hlaudi Motsoeneng and the former acting chief executive James Aguma. A recent former CEO of Business Unity SA, she was appointed to the National Planning Commission in 2015 and has served on the Telkom board. The professional achievements of this holder of a post-graduate diploma in management from Wits University have been recognised with various awards. They include an award for being “the most influential woman in mining, resources and the extractive sector” between 2012 and 2015 and several merit awards from industry bodies.
8) Febe Potgietier-Gqubule serves on the board of the think-tank Mapungubye Institute for Strategic Reflections (Mistra). She’s the former deputy chief of staff at the African Union Commission in Addis Ababa. She served there under former AU Commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, having started as her adviser for strategy and planning. Prior to that she was South Africa’s ambassador and head of mission to Poland. A holder of a master’s degree from Wits University, she was previously the deputy chairperson of the board of the State Information Technology Agency and headed the Lejweleputswa Development Agency.
9) Thabiso Ratsomo describes himself as a “professional with extensive experience in the government and the non-governmental sector”. He currently works as consultant. A former political prisoner, he was previously employed as a chief director and a chief of staff at the defence ministry. A holder of two master’s degrees in public management and human resources, he started his career as a researcher and a print journalist.
10) William Hamilton Currie has extensive experience in information and communication technology (ICT). In addition to publishing widely on ICT issues, he has worked in various capacities in the industry. He is a former special adviser to then minister of posts, telecommunications and broadcasting, Pallo Jordan. He’s also a former councillor at both the Independent Communications Authority of SA and its predecessor, the SA Telecommunications Regulatory Authority. Apart from a string of qualifications in the liberal arts, he has a master’s degree in film and television from the University of London and a certificate in management from Wits Business School.
11) Mathumo Manaka is a communications specialist with more than 17 years’ experience as a broadcaster and media lecturer. He has hosted radio shows at Igagasi FM, Kaya FM and the SAFM. He is currently the anchor of Vuma FM’s drive time show, and has worked as the KwaZulu-Natal SABC communications manager. Among his qualifications is a diploma in media management from AAA School of Advertising. His curriculum vitae states that he is committed to “radio principles to build TSL/CUME [time spent listening/cumulative audience] and a strong brand that can appeal to the advertiser”.
12) Len Konar is the final candidate. He is a chartered account by profession and his qualifications include a doctor of commerce and a certificate in tax law from Unisa. He has been exposed to diverse sectors of the economy at executive level for more than 30 years, including information technology retail, mining, manufacturing, private equity and government. His resumé says he is “adept in crafting effective strategies and sophisticated financial systems to grow revenue, minimise cost, increase profitability and attract outside capital”. He serves on the boards of listed and unlisted companies such as Sappi, Old Mutual, Exxaro Resources and Alexander Forbes. He previously chaired the external audit committee of the International Monetary Fund and co-chaired the World Bank’s risk committee.
*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.