SABC. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)
There were plenty of probing questions and lots of lively discussion between the parliamentary communications committee and the first batch of SABC board candidates yesterday. We can expect more of the same today.
The list is down to 35 from 36 because one candidate withdrew yesterday – and another didn’t show up, so it could well be down to 34.
Either way, there were a good few candidates lacking the skills needed to serve on the board yesterday, and a few of those today, so one or two fewer won’t make a big impact. That said, it’s a dream of our democracy that “normal” South Africans can bid for office.
Kick off time today is 9.30am and you can follow our tweets at @City_Press and our board interview partners @SOSCoalition to gain insight into the proceedings, which are being livestreamed at the SABC digital news channel.
We’ve been looking into the candidates’ pasts, their skills and strong and weak points and here’s who they are:
1) Sandile Kama, a former teacher, is presumably an accounts director at T-Systems South Africa. His very brief CV has a typo where it should state his current position. But he previously worked as an account director and manager for three big information technology firms. He initially trained as a teacher at Transkei College and then went on to study project management and call centre management at the University of Stellenbosch and Damelin College. His goals are “to build and maintain profitable businesses through good business practice” and to “contribute to growth of South Africa and world-wide economy (sic)”.
2) Rachel Kalidass is a chartered accountant with 18 years of experience in internal and external auditing, financial management, business process review, corporate governance and risk management. A graduate of the University of South Africa (Unisa), she is the managing director of R. Kalidass and Associates Chartered Accountants and Business Consultants. She was previously a financial manager and chief financial officer at the Mpumalanga Economic Growth Agency. A former SABC board member who was unceremoniously removed in March 2015, she currently serves on the boards of the Gauteng Partnership Fund and the Free State Gambling and Liquor Board. Parliament subsequently confirmed that her removal from the SABC board had been unlawful.
3) Nomvuyiso Batyi currently works as a councillor at the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa), the state institution that is tasked with regulating broadcasters like the SABC. This is her second term at the communications body, where she previously worked as an acting senior manager in charge of policy analysis and development and was the manager responsible for competition issues. A holder of two law degrees from the University of Fort Hare, Batyi is currently reading for her business leadership masters with Unisa. She has also spent three years at the Competition Commission working as an investigator and was responsible for probing possible violations of the Competition Act by companies. Former Communications Minister Faith Muthambi reportedly promised to appoint her as chairperson of Icasa on condition that she gave a television licence to the Gupta media stable. She threatened the minister with legal action when the appointment didn’t materialise.
4) Jack Devnarain has extensive experience in broadcasting, especially film and television production – mostly in front of the cameras. Popularly known as Isidingo’s Rajesh Kumar, he started his acting career in the early 1990s while studying law at the then University of Natal. An executive committee member of the South Africa Guild of Actors since 2010, he is a champion of the legal and economic rights of thespians. He’s got a string of honours under his belt including an award from People Magazine for Best Soapie Actor and another from YOU magazine for being a Favourite Actor. He was also the SA Film and Television Awards’s Best Supporting Actor in 2009.
5) Mcebo Rich Khumalo is a Bachelor of Social Science graduate from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. He has had additional training in corporate governance and disability and social inclusion. A non-executive director at domain name authority ZaDNA, he previously served on the board of the National Youth Development Agency between 2009 and 2012. His CV lists no prior media or broadcasting experience.
6) Victor Rambau is the head of business enablement at the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS). He’s also the scheme’s acting chief operations officer, and his duties include loans and bursary operations, funder relations and payment solutions. Prior to that, he was a senior manager at Standard Bank, where he was responsible for engineering business processes, improving productivity and cutting costs. He graduated with a business administration masters from Milpark Business School in 2003. He has no public broadcasting experience, nor has he served on the boards of major companies, except his current employer.
7) Harriet Meier is a journalist, editor and author with almost 40 years’ work experience in film and television. She chairs the Writers’ Guild of South Africa and previously headed the South Africa Screen Federation. Her work as a storyliner for Muvhango was nominated for the SA Film and Television Awards. Her CV shows that her current work includes storylining and episode writing for the SABC drama series Endgame and also on Sticks and Stones. She has more experience on the creative side of film and television, but lacks experience in directing a company of any size.
8) Dawn Earp is a chartered accountant by profession. A consultant and non-executive director, she previously served as an elected member of the SA Accounting Practices Board and is the ex-chairperson of the Chamber of Mines Accounting Committee. Her other recent board memberships include non-executive directorships at Teba Limited, Metamar Limited and Rand Refinery. She’s also been active in the non-profit sector as a director of the Ekurhuleni Jewellery Beneficiation Project and a benefactor of weCare, a community upliftment initiative that helps orphaned children. She holds Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Accountancy degrees from the University of the Witwatersrand.
9) Krish Naidoo is a member of the SABC’s interim board. He was previously the SABC’s non-executive director, but resigned last year, citing the board’s conduct and poor internal processes. He served in the board’s risk, audit, social and ethics committees. Supporters praise his stance against the board that would collapse partly as a result of him; critics say he spoke up too late. A lawyer by training, the outspoken Naidoo is also a legal adviser to the ANC’s national disciplinary committee. His work has been recognised by various bodies over the years and has been awarded such honours as the British Council/Helen Suzman Award and the South African Soccer Association Award. He has a wealth of understanding of the problems facing the public broadcaster.
10) Gladys Thidziambi Nethengwe is an educator who serves as a member of the Limpopo legislature, where she is the chairperson of the roads and transport oversight committee. She holds a philosophy doctorate from the University of Limpopo and was a school principal for about 30 years before her stint as an education inspector and associate professor. She’s been active in rural associations and the ANC Women’s League in Limpopo’s Vhembe district.
11) Kwanele Gumbi describes himself as an entrepreneur who has been active in “media and communications, arts and culture, primary healthcare, commercial real estate, trade and investments”. He has a number of post-matric certificates in various aspects of business and management, including one from Harvard Business School. He is the chairperson of the Market Theatre Foundation, and is part of the team with the mandate to revive and reposition the famous Joburg theatre. He spent three years of his career hosting a programme at Igagasi FM. His previous board positions include serving in organisations such as the Salvation Army, the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the KwaZulu-Natal chapter of the Institute of Directors.
12) Michael Bauer has extensive experience in the property and construction sectors. He is currently employed as the managing director of IHFM (Pty Ltd), an estate agency that also doubles up as a financial services firm. In addition to a masters degree in commerce from the University of Cape Town, he also holds science qualifications from two German higher education institutions. His resumé also lists non-executive directorship in institutions such as the Institute of Estate Agents of South Africa, the Western Cape National Association of Managing Agents and the Dental Wellness Trust. He doesn’t seem to have any experience in the media sector.
SABC board interview schedule Thursday August 31
1. Sandile Kama: 9.30am – 10.20am
2. Rachel Kalidass: 10.20am – 11am
TEA BREAK: 11am – 11.20am
3. Nomvuyiso Batyi: 11.20am – 12pm
4. Jack Devnarain: 12pm – 12.40pm
5. Mcebo Khumalo: 12.40pm – 1.20pm
LUNCH BREAK: 1.20pm – 2.20pm
6. Victor Rambau: 2.20pm – 3pm
7. Harriet Meier: 3pm – 3.40pm
TEA BREAK: 3.40pm – 4pm
8. Dawn Earp: 4pm – 4.40pm
9. Krish Naidoo: 4.40pm – 5.20pm
10. Thidziambi Nethengwe: 5.20pm – 6pm
DINNER BREAK: 6pm – 7pm
11. Kwanele Gumbi: 7pm – 7.40pm
12. Michael Bauer: 7.40pm – 8.20pm
*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.