SABC Interim Board: Committee Recommendations

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01 July 2009
Chairperson: Mr I Vadi (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee met to appoint the interim Board of the SABC: Ms Libby Loyd, Dr Phillip Frederick Mtimkulu, Adv Leslie Kgopotse Sedibe, Ms Irene Charnley and Ms Suzanne Vos with Ms Charnley as Chairperson and Dr Mtimkulu as Deputy Chairperson.

The meeting began with parties tabling their final nominees:
ID nominees: Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane; Mr Frederick Van Zyl Slabbert; Mr Richard Calland; and Mr Max du Preez.
DA nominees: Mr Mark Jakins; Mr Peter Matlare; and Prof A Gilwald.
COPE nominees: Prof Guy Berger; Ms Pippa Green; Mr Shauket Fakie; Dr Mampele Ramphele; and Prof Njabulo Ndebele. Of these candidates only Dr Ramphele had confirmed willingness to serve on the Board.
IFP nominee: Ms Suzanne Vos.
ANC nominees: Ms Irene Charnley; Dr Phillip Frederick Mtimkulu; Ms Libby Lloyd; Adv Leslie Sedibe; and Adv William Mokhare

The DA and COPE explained that they had agreed on their list of candidates, which resulted in a heated debate between the ruling party and the opposition. The ANC also voiced their discontent that the DA had not circulated their nominations to the other parties before caucus that morning. This had put other parties on a distinct disadvantage since they were not familiar with DA's candidates and also it put Committee members in a dilemma since they had not discussed these candidates with their caucuses. The DA objected to the process being very rushed and indicated that the ANC were pursuing a predetermined agenda. They also pointed out that there had been no official request that parties submitted their candidates to other parties before the meeting. The Chairperson adjourned the Committee for 30 minutes so that all parties could caucus on the final nominees.

When they returned, the IFP was willing to agree on the ANC proposition, if ANC substituted one of their legal fundis for Ms Vos. The ID was happy to support Ms Charnley, Ms Lloyd and Dr Mtimkulu, Ms Vos and Mr Calland. COPE wanted to support Ms Charnley, Ms Lloyd and Dr Ramphele and wanted the ANC to exclude one of their legal candidates. The DA had received mandates from their caucus to support Ms Charnley, Ms Lloyd, Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane and Mr du Preez. They wanted to withdraw their nomination of Peter Matlare, since he had not confirmed that he was willing to serve on the Board, and wanted to bring forward their nominations of Mr Jakins and Ms Gilwald. The Chairperson asked the DA what their bottom line was and the DA replied that their first priority was to get Prof Ramphele on the Board and their second priority was Mr Jakins. The DA objected to the inclusion of Dr Mtimkulu, due to his field of expertise being political science. The Chair asked if they could all agree on Ms Charnley, Ms Lloyd and Mr Sedibe and the Committee confirmed that they could. The Chair adjourned for a 15 minute caucus, during which he asked the opposition to agree on two final nominees.

When they returned the opposition said that they had agreed on Prof Ramphele, Mr Van Zyl Slabbert and Ms Vos. The Chairperson said that the ANC had already indicated that they were willing to accept Ms Vos, but that it was not fair for the opposition to ask the ANC to 'choose between two angels' in terms of Prof Ramphele and Mr Slabbert and ordered the opposition to go back and agree on two final names. They did so and came back with Ms Vos and Prof Ramphele.

However the ANC were unwilling to give up on Dr Mtimkulu. When the opposition realised that this was the case, they voiced their unhappiness with the process, stating that it showed that the ANC was not genuinely committed to finding consensus. They said that to expect the opposition to agree on four out of five on the ANC's original list and only get one person from their own nominees was not a position that was reached with adequate consensus.

The ID, COPE and the DA withdrew their support for the nominees. The Committee had to resort to voting on the ANC proposal that the interim Board be:Ms Libby Loyd, Dr Phillip Frederick Mtimkulu, Adv Leslie Kgopotse Sedibe, Ms Irene Charnley and Ms Suzanne Vos with Ms Charnley as Chairperson and Dr Mtimkulu as Deputy Chairperson. The Committee voted on the suggestion, which was accepted with 8 (ANC and IFP) for and 4 (DA, ID, COPE) against.


Meeting report

The Chairperson opened by inviting the opposition parties that had not yet tabled their nominees to do so. The Minority Front (MF) and the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) had submitted their nominations to the Committee. The Committee had also received a concerned letter from Mr Desmond Golding, stating that he was distressed about being nominated for the interim Board without having consented to the nomination. 

Mr N Van Den Berg (DA) said that he wanted to state for the record that the DA was concerned that the ANC was rushing through the process of dealing with the SABC Board. There had been indications of problems within the SABC for a very long time and the ANC had not reacted, and the DA held them culpable for this. The DA was convinced that the ANC had been ready with the names for the interim Board four weeks ago already. The DA had decided in caucus this morning that they and COPE would work together in nominating names. They had added a few names to COPE’s list.
The Chair interjected, asking if he was tabling names on behalf of the DA and COPE.

Mr Van Den Berg responded that he would table the names that the DA had added and that Ms Kilian would table the other names.

The Chair acknowledged that it was a tactical alliance and said that that was acceptable in politics.

Mr S Kholwane (ANC) wanted to know who was speaking on behalf of whom? If the DA and COPE were speaking as one today then who was their official spokesperson?

Ms L Mazibuko (DA) said that they were only ‘one’ in terms of the list they submitted but in all other aspects they were still separate parties and would speak for themselves. The two parties had simply agreed on a list of names that were suitable to lead the SABC.

Mr Kholwane said that the remarks on their working together were unnecessary then, if their only commonality was the names.

The Chair said that they should avoid entering into a dog fight about this and simply get the names on the table.

Mr Kholwane interjected and said that it was necessary to discuss it because it was wrong to make unjust remarks in passing; members had to be careful with what they said. The DA had said that the two political parties were one. The DA should table their names, and COPE their names, and they could be common, but they should not go out and say that it was an alliance. An alliance was something else.

Ms J Kilian (COPE) said that she did not understand the sensitivity. They had all along said that they wanted qualified persons to serve the different needs on the SABC Board. COPE had looked carefully at the ANC nominations, and they could endorse some of those. Since the DA had not yet submitted names, COPE had asked the DA to look at COPE’s list and COPE would in return consider the DA nominees. The same invitation could be extended to the ANC. The Committee should work together, depoliticise the Board and simply try to find the best collective of skills. She regretted that the tension that was noted during the dissolution of the Board in the National Assembly was again rearing its ugly head; it was unnecessary. The interim Board only had six months to do a very difficult task so it would be preferable if the entire Committee could come together and nominate names they could all back.

Ms P De Lille (ID) asked the Committee to get back to procedures. Yesterday they had agreed that they should all send their nominations to all the parties, together with relevant CVs, before the caucuses. The ID had done this. She just wanted the Chairperson to rule on the procedure. Even if the parties agreed on the names, they still had to table the names individually.

The Chairperson said that it was important to note that they had agreed yesterday that they would all circulate their names to all parties. He wanted to thank the ID, the IFP and the MF for doing this. He had a difficulty with accepting that the DA and COPE could meet under these so called ‘rushed circumstances’ but that they did not have time to circulate their names. This put the other parties at a distinct disadvantage, because they would not know the new candidates, and they did not have the opportunity to get a mandate from their caucuses on these candidates. It had been a working agreement that they circulated the names, and although it was not a rule of Parliament it had to be placed on record that the COPE and the DA had not done so.

Ms Mazibuko stated for the record that there had been no official requirement to circulate the nominations. The DA had understood the purpose of the current meeting to be to table names and have a discussion. It had to be noted that there was no mandate to circulate the names, and that they were working under extraordinarily rushed circumstances, which the DA objected to since it seemed as the governing party had predetermined the process.

The Chairperson said that they had to be upfront and understand how the Committee was working together since the working processes seemed to become a problem, specifically with the DA. Last Friday 28 June, they had in the Committee approved a unanimous report, but in the House the DA whip had questioned the report. That was not correct. The Committee members had to respect, and show confidence in, the administration. It was important that the DA reported properly within their structures. About the circulation of the names, Ms Mazibuko was right. There had been no written official request, but it had been a common understanding, a working agreement. The DA and COPE’s behaviour had put all the other parties at a disadvantage because they were asking them to make a decision on new candidates after party caucuses, which in turn put the members in a dilemma. He hoped that the Committee would be able to move forward from this type of behaviour.

Mr Kholwane said that they needed to correct things. Sometimes the ANC did not want to respond to the opposition’s statements, but now they felt that they had to. When the DA said that the process was extraordinarily rushed, they were implicitly questioning ANC’s integrity. The Committee members should be careful with what they were saying, since what they said could cast doubt on a process that they were participating in. It was as if they were raising a number of points now only so that they could say at a later stage that they had objected to the process. Their behaviour raised suspicions that the ANC had a hidden agenda and this was something the ANC could not take lightly. The ANC had a moral obligation to lead broadly in society. It was easy for the opposition to cast doubt on the processes because in the end they did not take responsibility for them publicly afterwards. It had to be admitted that they had agreed on the process in yesterday’s meeting and that subsequently the DA had chosen not to fulfil their obligations and instead uttered a statement on the ‘rushed process’. This was not nice, it could not be taken lightly, but in the end they needed to move on with the proceedings.

The Chairperson asked the IFP for their nominees.

Rev K Zondi (IFP) said that the IFP wished to nominate Ms Suzanne Vos to sit on the SABC interim Board. She had served on the Portfolio Committee of Communications for the past 15 years, between 1994 and 2009 and she was therefore familiar with the issues around the SABC Board and management, and was well known to SABC senior management. She knew the Broadcasting Act as amended since she had actively worked on it. She qualified for the position in the interim Board in terms of the requirements in the Broadcasting Act as amended. Prior to 1994 Ms Vos was a senior journalist for two decades and spent a substantial amount of time as the Sunday Times’ Europe and UK correspondent. The law required members of the Board, as viewed collectively, to be suitable to serve according to their qualifications, expertise and experience in various fields including; broadcasting policy and technology; broadcasting regulation; media law; and journalism. It was their considered view that Ms Vos was eligible in all these fields. Further the Broadcasting Act required that Board members had to be committed to fairness, freedom of expression, the right of the public to be informed, openness and accountability. Ms Vos reputation showed that she was, with no doubt, committed to those principles. The IFP further wanted to underscore that Ms Vos was currently not serving the IFP in any capacity and she had retired from politics.

Ms De Lille presented ID’s four confirmed nominees. Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane had worked extensively with the poor people of the country, which were the people that the SABC was supposed to serve as a public broadcaster. He had worked in rural areas to help poverty alleviation and to reach the Millennium Development Goals. At present he was the Chairperson of the African Monitor, an organisation that acted as a watchdog ensuring that NGO funding was used as intended. The Arts and Culture Minister had also named the Archbishop a champion in transforming historical and under-resourced schools. Dr Van Zyl Slabbert had been a Member of Parliament, been involved with IDASA and the Open Society Foundation and many initiatives building the new democracy. Richard Calland was an associate professor of public law at University of Cape Town (UCT) and had an extensive CV which included writing opinion pieces so he had media skills to bring to the Board. Max du Preez had a long history of involvement in the media. Those were the four names the ID wanted to table.

The Chairperson asked if the ANC had any further nominations or if their nominations stood as they were the day before?

Mr Kholwane confirmed that they had no new nominations.

Ms Kilian (COPE) said that COPE wished to withdraw their nomination of Mr D Golding in light of the letter of concern he had written. Other nominees had also not yet formally acknowledged that they were willing to serve on the Board; they had wanted a more precise indication of how much time they were expected to devote to the Board. She did however want to confirm that Dr Mampele Ramphele was available.

The Chairperson asked if he had understood her correctly in that she would confirm the other nominees later and Ms Kilian (COPE) indicated that he had.

Mr Van Den Berg nominated Mr Mark Jakins, whose CV they were still waiting for, but who had been the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of the SABC Commercial Enterprises (all the commercial radio stations of the SABC). He had done a very good job and could be valuable in turning the SABC’s financial situation around. At present he was the Chief Commercial Officer for Peermont Hotel and Casino group, so he was still operating in the financial area. Prof A Gilwald was a very capable person with integrity and the DA wished to nominate her to ensure that there was some continuity in the interim Board and that there was someone who was familiar with the current problems. Mr Peter Matlare had been the Group CEO at the SABC before Mr Mpofu and had proved himself to be a very good manager and had done good work on the financial front. The DA felt that he was capable of leading the team. Those were the three names that the DA wanted to add to the list of COPE.

Ms Mazibuko (DA) pointed out that they had received confirmation letters and CVs from Dr Ramphele and Prof Gilwald that she wanted to table.

The Chairperson wanted to confirm that the four names nominated by COPE and DA were Dr Ramphele, Prof Gilwald, Mr Mark Jakins, and Peter Matlare.

Ms Mazibuko replied that it was those names plus the ones submitted yesterday by COPE.

The Chairperson said that what he wanted to establish what the statuses of Ms Pippa Green and Mr Guy Berger were. To his knowledge Ms Green had applied for a job at the corporation and was as such not eligible.

Ms Kilian (COPE) said that if that was the case, COPE would withdraw her name. They were still waiting for confirmations from Mr Guy Berger, Mr Shauket Fakie and Prof Ndebele.

Mr Kholwane wanted to confirm that the list of COPE was Prof Guy Berger, Mr Shauket Fakie, Prof Ramphele and Prof Njabulo Ndebele.

The Chairperson asked the Committee to adjourn for 30 minutes so that all parties could consider all the names. By that time hopefully they would have confirmations from all candidates.

Ms De Lille interjected and asked how they could consider names from whom they had not yet received CVs.

The Chairperson acknowledged that that was a problem, but they would have to go on the oral presentations. Some of the candidates were well known to the members in any case and each party would have to make a judgement.

Mr B Manamela (ANC) said that it was a disadvantage that not all names had been confirmed since that would play a role in whether or not they could be considered. Some of the names presented were indeed tempting, but if they had not confirmed that they would be willing to serve then they could not really be considered. Considering Mr Golding’s letter, it was important that a situation like that was not repeated.

The Chairperson said that the DA and COPE should liaise with the other parties in the next half an hour and make sure that if any confirmation came through it was conveyed to all parties.

Ms Kilian asked what process they would follow. Were they going to look at the legal requirements and shortlist candidates into categories, or how were they going to choose?

The Chairperson said that naturally they could not ignore the law. The IFP nomination document conveniently stated the requirements of the law so they could all look at that when deciding who to nominate.

Mr Kholwane asked the Chair if he could restate the ANC nominations before they adjourned, since the human brain had a tendency to remember only the latest events. The ANC nominees were: Ms Irene Charnley; Dr Phillip Frederick Mtimkulu; Ms Libby Lloyd; Adv Leslie Sedibe; and Adv William Mokhare.

[The Chairperson adjourned the meeting for 30 minutes]

As they came back the Chairperson asked Rev Zondi for the IFP final nominations.

Rev Zondi thanked the Chairperson for the wonderful opportunity to caucus. After considering the names put forward by the ANC, since they all had good credentials he had no problem supporting their nominees. However he proposed that since the ANC list included two legal fundis that one of them was exchanged for Ms Vos.

Ms De Lille said that from the ANC list, the ID was happy to support Ms Charnley, Ms Lloyd and Dr Mtimkulu. She further wanted to support the nomination of Ms Vos and bring forward Mr Calland. The ANC should be pleased to see that this was a Board with a 3-2 female to male ratio.

Ms Kilian said that the ANC list had three very good names and two that COPE was not very familiar with. She wanted to support Ms Charnley and Ms Lloyd. COPE was a bit concerned that the ANC list included two legal fundis since people with legal backgrounds often took opposing views in legal matters. COPE felt that it would be better for the Board if it had one strong legal person and therefore wanted the ANC to exclude one of their legal nominees. COPE did not know Dr Mtimkulu but they trusted that the ANC caucus knew what they were doing when they recommended him, as they should know him well. Finally, looking at the gender balance, COPE wanted to bring forward Dr Ramphele. COPE wished that the Committee could agree on a list, since unanimous support would send a strong message to the public.

The Chair wanted to confirm that the COPE nominees were Ms Charnley, Ms Lloyd and Dr Ramphele.

Ms Kilian said that they were.

The Chairperson asked what COPE’s position was on Ms Vos.

Ms Kilian said that she had nothing against Ms Vos, but she had not received a caucus mandate to support her.

Mr van Den Berg said that the Committee had heard much about what was wrong within the SABC. The public was now watching the Committee for leadership. Although they came from different political parties, they needed to come together to ensure that the SABC interim Board had the right balance of legal, financial and media expertise. He was going to ask Ms Mazibuko to present the three names that the DA was prepared to support on the ANC list. It was important that the Committee members decided on good leaders and disregarded party allegiances of the nominees. It was clear that the ANC had the majority in the Committee, since a majority of South Africans had voted for the party in April. However the ANC had to realise that the DA had also received many votes, and the Committee needed to agree on a Board that all the people of South Africa could buy into. The public had lost faith in the SABC and it was the Committee’s duty to keep people on Board, keep their trust in the SABC so that they continued to pay their TV licences. With that he asked his deputy to present the names the DA supported.

Ms Mazibuko said that the names they had received mandates from their caucus to support were Ms Charnley, Ms Lloyd, Archbishop
Njongonkulu Ndungane, Mr du Preez but not Mr Calland. They also strongly objected to Dr Mtimkulu; they did not understand why the ANC had nominated someone who was so heavily politicised. He was an extraordinarily capable person, but his credentials were in the field of politics and the DA wanted an apolitical board. They had received no mandate on Ms Vos.

Mr Kholwane asked what their position was on the other names from the ID.

Ms Mazibuko responded that they could support Mr du Preez, Mr Van Zyl Slabbert and…

The Chair interrupted and said that it would be more helpful if they just gave their five names. There was no point in putting seven names forward. What was the DA’s bottom line? The ID had said that they could sleep tonight if Mr Calland was on the Board, Rev Zondi would dream if Ms Vos was on the Board. What was the DA non-negotiable? That would help the process, because it seemed as if they were going to be able to reach consensus on three names.

Ms Mazibuko said that the DA would be able to sleep tonight if Dr Ramphele was on the list.

Mr Van Den Berg added that he did not want to complicate things, but the DA also wanted Prof Gilwald and Mr Mark Jakins. But he agreed that he could sleep if Dr Ramphele was on the list, and the second DA priority was Mark Jakins. They withdrew the nomination of Peter Matlare since he had not confirmed that he was willing to serve on the Board.

Mr L Mkhize (ANC) said that Ms Mazibuko had mentioned four names, now Mr Van Den Berg mentioned another two; that made it six names. Could the DA please just give them the names they wanted on the Board?

Ms Mazibuko responded that they wanted Dr Ramphele and Mr Jakins.

Mr G Radebe (ANC) wanted clarity, were they still waiting for confirmation from Dr Ramphele.

The Chair said that they had received confirmation from Dr Ramphele.

Mr Kholwane appreciated the after caucus report; it seemed as if the break had helped them to move towards a conclusion. He agree with Mr Van Den Berg that the nation was watching them like a hawk. The problem in front of them was scaling down to the final five candidates. The ANC was committed to objectively engage in the process and they agreed with the IFP and COPE to keep only one legal fundi on the list. They were therefore prepared to remove Adv Mokhare. They wanted Ms Charnley, Ms Lloyd, Mr Sedibe, and Prof Mtimkulu on the Board. When it came to the last name the opposition had too many suggestions and the minority parties should indicate in which direction they wanted to go.

The Chairperson asked if they could all agree on appointing Ms Charnley, Ms Lloyd and Mr Sedibe. There had been one objection to Dr Mtimkulu, but the other three parties seemed to agree on that name as well. Members were encouraged to consider both the gender and race balance of the Board.

Mr Van Den Berg asked if he had understood it correctly that the ANC was only willing to step down on one candidate.

Mr Kholwane said that that was what they were trying to say. COPE had made a valid call in saying that it was perhaps not a good idea to have two legal fundis on the Board; therefore the ANC was willing to remove one of the advocates and make room for a candidate from the minority parties on the Board. 

Ms De Lille asked if he was saying that the four opposition parties had to agree on one name while the ANC chose the other four. If that was the case the ANC was not trying to reach consensus. They needed at least a 3-2 split.

Mr Kholwane said that they should let all the other parties discuss their nominations and the ANC would discuss as well. They should caucus and then come to a clear decision.

[The Chairperson adjourned the meeting for 15 minutes]

When they came back, Ms De Lille said that the opposition had agreed on six names, and they hoped that the ANC could assist and bring it down to five names. The opposition list was: Ms Charnley, Mr Sedibe, Ms Vos, Ms Lloyd, Dr Ramphele, and Mr Van Zyl Slabbert.

The Chairperson said that they were not helping the process in making the ANC chose between Dr Ramphele and Mr Van Zyl Slabbert; it was like choosing between two angels. The Committee had hoped that the opposition would have streamlined their list.

Ms De Lille asked if he wanted the opposition to agree on two candidates.

The Chair first wanted to hear what Mr Van Den Berg and Mr Kholwane had to say.

Mr Van Den Berg wanted to know if the ANC would allow the four opposition parties to nominate two candidates on the Board. If the ANC was in any means prepared to make that move, they would be able to go out from the meeting and say that they had reached consensus. The ANC as the majority had appointed three names and the opposition had appointed two names. Was there any good will to do that within the ANC?

The Chairperson wanted to know if the opposition could bring it down to one name from the opposition, in addition to Ms Vos.

Ms Mazibuko said that they were under the impression that they, as the opposition, were supposed to bring forward two names, and they had brought forward three.

The Chairperson responded that they had all agreed on Ms Vos, since both the ANC and the opposition supported her, in addition the opposition had to choose between Prof Ramphele and Mr Van Zyl Slabbert.

Ms Mazibuko said that in that case they would need to caucus again.

Mr Radebe said that they needed to find a commonality on the issues before the caucus. They had agreed on Ms Charnley, Ms Lloyd and Mr Sedibe. Those were not ANC candidates, but candidates that the entire Committee supported. What they needed to do now was to caucus about the final two positions.

The Chairperson said that they had now agreed on the fourth name which was Ms Vos.

Ms Kilian said that they had decided on three names so that the ANC could have the choice which two to bring on the Board. They could go back and choose two names.

The Chair asked the opposition to put their cards on the table. The ANC had the fourth name that they did not want to give up. Which name did the opposition want to put forward? They had to provide a name.

Ms De Lille said that the Committee had agreed on three names, but those had been nominated by the ANC. The opposition had then looked at the names that opposition parties had nominated and had been able to agree on three names, so as to let the ANC have a choice in the matter of the final two candidates. If need be, they could bring it down to two names.

Mr Kholwane said that they had also discussed in caucus that they wanted to make sure that there was no one who was politically active on the Board. Since the DA had raised the point that Dr Mtimkulu was a politicised candidate, the ANC had researched the matter and they were comfortable in saying that he was not an active ANC member. That he was a political scientist did not mean that he was politicised. The ANC wanted the best men and women to serve on the interim Board to deal with the major issues that needed to be attended to. Another aspect was that the interim Board would probably not even serve for the full six months since the Committee would try to get the permanent Board together as quickly as possible in order to facilitate stability within the SABC. They therefore needed to put people on the interim Board who could ‘hit the road running’. Since Dr Mtimkulu was not in any way active within the ANC structures, the opposition had to consider his name during the rest of the procedure.

Rev Zondi said that they needed to decide between Prof Ramphele and Dr Van Zyl Slabbert since they had all agreed on Ms Vos. There was a question mark about Dr Mtimkulu since the opposition had requested the ANC to reconsider that candidate. From the look of things, the ANC was proposing four names very firmly.

Ms De Lille said that they accepted that they had to move quickly due to the situation within the SABC and they realised that names that fell outside the interim Board could be considered for the permanent Board. They also wanted to see a solution today.

The Chair said that the fundamental process of appointing a permanent Board would probably have to be completed before Parliament rose this year, which meant that they were looking at a very short term appointment for the interim Board. All the people that had been nominated, without exception, were people of high standing, well known in society and enjoying public support. They were all high calibre people and there would be a second bite of the cherry with more room to play with, when the 12 people on the permanent Board were appointed. The Committee had agreed on three names, they now had to come to an agreement on the last two candidates. It was not a life and death situation since the interim Board would only serve for a very short period of time. The real issue was to appoint the permanent Board.

[The Chairperson adjourned the meeting for ten minutes.]

After caucus the Chairperson asked about the IFP position.

Rev Zondi replied that after deliberating, the IFP proposed the three initial names that they had agreed on, plus Prof Ramphele and Ms Vos.

Ms De Lille seconded that position.

Ms Kilian said that they believed that that would form a solid Board. She wanted to say that they had had a slightly different approach but COPE could live with it as it was, and they wanted to make sure that the ANC would meet the opposition favourably.

Mr Van Den Berg said that they had all agreed on the three names that the ANC had put forward. The DA strongly recommended Prof Ramphele, who was affiliated with the World Bank and who had very good financial and managerial skills. They did not feel so strongly about Ms Vos, but they could live with it.

Ms De Lille interjected and asked why they had caucused if the DA could not stand behind their agreement on Ms Charnley, Ms Lloyd, Mr Sedibe, Prof Ramphele and Ms Vos. That was what they had come to report back to the Committee. The ANC had, before caucus, raised Mr Mtimkulu which would bring the candidates to six. They now asked the ANC to agree on the Board members as suggested by the opposition and drop Dr Mtimkulu.

Ms Kilian strongly supported that position.

Mr Van Den Berg wanted to apologise to his new caucus members. He did not wish to criticise the position of the caucus but he had wanted state his position for the record.

Mr Kholwane said that again the ANC was disadvantaged and caught out, since they had only received Prof Ramphele’s CV now. They had had to quickly go over it and see what she might add to the Board. In terms of their proposal they appreciated the work of the Committee and the spirit of working together as ‘together they could do more’. They had agreed on the first three names; Ms Charnley; Ms Lloyd; and Mr Sedibe. Going through the CVs it was important that they did not de-motivate any of the nominees since they still had the task ahead of them to nominate a permanent Board. Candidates had to be treated with respect because they would be needed as the Committee moved forward to appoint a permanent Board. The ANC were comfortable with adding Ms Suzanne Vos to the Board. The only part they found difficult to accept was the issue of dropping Dr Mtimkulu. The ANC felt strongly that Mtimkulu should form part of the Board. They felt that skills like those Prof Ramphele could bring to the Board were already represented by Ms Charnley and Mr Sedibe in terms of corporate governance and financial understanding. The ANC was not comfortable with dropping Dr Mtimkulu.

Ms Kilian said that in that case they had to caucus. What had happened was that the ANC had cherry picked from the opposition candidates, without trying to compromise. It would really be a pity if there would be no progress in terms of a commitment to cooperation.

Ms Mazibuko clarified that the point the DA had made about Dr Mtimkulu was not related to him being politically active within the ANC. What they questioned was why someone with a specialist background in political science was needed on the SABC Board; the key skills needed on the Board were mainly financial, logistical, operational and managerial

The Chairperson responded that Dr Mtimkulu had been a journalist from 1986-96, before he chose his academic career within political science. He had media experience and seniority and he could also contribute in the field of journalistic independence.

Ms De Lille said that she had wanted to avoid this - a situation when they were making judgement calls on individuals. The ID had withdrawn Mr Calland; he was very experienced in the relevant areas. They needed to stop the process of choosing one candidate over another. The opposition had in good faith accepted three of the ANC candidates and had dropped their own candidates in order to reach a consensus. Why was the ANC so hell-bent on getting their own names? If there was no spirit of compromising, then why had they been sitting there for so long, when they should have been participating in the National Assembly debate? The opposition had been inclusive to accommodate the ANC, now they made an appeal to the ANC. It was not worth the compromise, if the ANC was only willing to differ on one of their original candidates.

Mr Mkhize said that ANC had proposed five names and the opposition had accepted only three, but it was wrong for the opposition to say that the ANC were judgemental when in fact it was the opposition who were judgemental. To say that there had been no progress was wrong. They had agreed on four names; the only issue was to agree on the final name. That was progress. The four they had agreed on were a consensus decision – out of 15 candidates they had been able to agree on four. Now the issue was how to best reach consensus on the last name, and the choice was between Prof Ramphele and Dr Mtimkulu. The ANC was not willing to drop their proposed name, but the opposition could not accuse them of this when they were likewise unwilling to drop their name. The ANC had accepted a name from the opposition; that was progress. He was not comfortable with Ms Mazibuko making judgement calls on their candidate. In the end, if the opposition had not been able to engage and convince the ANC on their candidates then that was the opposition’s problem, not ANC’s problem.

Mr B Manamela (ANC) reiterated that Dr Mtimkulu currently had no political affiliation. The Committee did not need to consider names based on their political affiliation now. They needed a group of people to quickly stabilise the SABC while the Committee was focusing on appointing the permanent Board. It was also important to emphasise that the ANC’s consideration of Dr Mtimkulu was not based on his political work but due to his media skills. They wanted to leave politics until they were dealing with the permanent Board. The ANC had been strongly considering the opposition names; that could be seen from the process that had been unfolding. However this was not a life and death decision, it was not that the decision was between Ramphele and Mtimkulu, but that they had been able to agree on all the other names. Perhaps they should have a five-minute discussion and make a decision on the six names on the table. The ANC was acting in good faith and they wanted to conclude the process with everyone feeling comfortable with the final names. It was not possible that all parties would be happy with the outcome; there were only five positions and parties had already cut an arm and a leg, but so had the ANC, so it was the same for everyone. The main thing was that they were all comfortable.

The Chairperson asked if they wanted to take a five minute caucus time.

Before they took a break Ms Magazi reminded the Committee that they were looking for people who were going to immediately get to work within the SABC. There was no time for them to learn the SABC system, no time for an induction period. The opposition parties had to consider that when making their decision.

[The Committee adjourned for five minutes.]

On their return, Rev Zondi was asked on his position.

Rev Zondi said that after consulting with his party, they felt that they could live with the three candidates that the Committee had agreed on. Furthermore the IFP had no problem with Dr Mtimkulu and Ms Vos as the final two Board members. This was not the end of the process; other candidates with impeccable credentials would be considered for the permanent Board. The IFP therefore urged the Committee members to reach a consensus on the five names.

Mr Kholwane said that the people that had been nominated for the interim were all people of high ranking in society and the ANC did not want to get into a situation where they were motivating for and against - on a personal basis. The ANC held both doctors in very high esteem. They would be happy to have them both on the Board. However since there were not six places on the interim Board it was time that they agreed on five names. As an experienced Committee member, he could say that it seemed as if the Committee was maturing, since they had never before reached a consensus on three or four names. As Rev Zondi had indicated they still needed to consider the current nominees for the permanent Board. However, the ANC strongly felt that they needed Dr Mtimkulu in order for the Board to hit the road running. Also, they needed to go one step further and look at whom to nominate for the Chairperson and deputy Chair. When could the Committee enter that phase? To sum up: the ANC had to go for Dr Mtimkulu, but other nominees would be considered for the final Board.

Ms De Lille said that two phrases had been repeatedly uttered by the ANC. The first was that this was ‘just the interim Board’; if that was the case then why were they so adamant to get the people they had nominated. The second phrase was that the Board members had to be able to ‘hit the road running’. Why did the ANC believe that candidates, other than their own, would not be able to do this? It was not like the ANC candidates had had previous experience on the SABC Board. They created the impression that the other candidates were not bright enough to know what to do, and those comments needed to be withdrawn.

If this was an example of what it was going to be like when the Committee appointed the permanent Board they would sit there days on end interviewing and in the end the voice and the choice of the opposition would not be important enough. There were no guarantees that the names that the public would nominate would get to the final process. This was an opportunity missed. The position of the ID was that they withdrew support for all the five nominations. They wanted to wish the five nominees well, and they would continue to monitor the SABC to make sure that it would finally become a real public broadcaster that belonged to the public. If the ANC felt that they could use their majority to push through their choice on this interim Board that was ‘not so important’ then she could accept that, but it was an opportunity missed.

The Chair asked if she withdrew all her five nominations.

Ms De Lille said that she withdrew her support for all the five nominations that were currently on the table.

Ms Kilian said that as far as COPE was concerned they also wanted to withdraw their support from the five nominees because the negotiations in the Committee had not been conducted in good faith to reach a consensus. She agreed with Ms De Lille that it was difficult to understand why the ANC was so reluctant to move from their position. To expect the opposition to agree on four out of five on ANC’s original list and only get one person from their own nominees was not a position that was reached with adequate consensus. COPE wished the candidates well, they had a difficult task ahead of them and she was concerned that they did not have adequate financial and business experience amongst them. They did have adequate industry experience and outside understanding of the SABC Board, but she felt that the Board was not balanced enough. She was therefore not convinced that they would be able to bridge the gap and move in during the crisis period in the SABC. To not reach consensus was an opportunity missed and COPE was very disappointed that the ANC majoritarianism had again reared its head.

Mr Van Den Berg said that the DA also wished to withdraw their support from the five candidates. It was no judgement on the integrity of the candidates but it was a judgement on the process. It had been very easy and comfortable for the ANC to pull in the IFP. As mentioned earlier Rev Zondi was moving closer and closer to the ANC side, and the ANC seemed to try to bully the opposition into this arrangement. It seemed as if the ANC had accepted one opposition candidate simply so that they could go out to the public and say that this was a consensus board. It was a pity; the DA was the official opposition in Parliament and the only person they very dearly wanted on the Board was Prof Ramphele, but the ANC could not even agree to this. In conclusion, the DA withdrew their support and wished the candidates well, but he personally doubted that in six months the SABC would be found in a better position than before.

Ms Kilian reiterated that the withdrawal of COPE’s support was a result of the process and had nothing to do with the individual nominees. The opposition had compromised and made sacrifices, but to no avail. The ANC had tried to swipe one of their caucus members and to some extent it had been a coercion to appease the IFP to bring them aboard.

The Chairperson said that they should all respect Rev Zondi’s choices; he had confirmed it with his caucus and words such as ‘coerced’ should not be used where they did not belong.

Mr Kholwane said that the opposition could not do what they had tried to do. The Chairperson needed to protect Rev Zondi and make the members withdraw their statements.

Ms Kilian said that she withdrew her statement about Rev Zondi.

Mr Kholwane continued that it was difficult to reach a consensus in situations like this, but the ANC would continue to try to forge cooperation in the future. The DA was in majority in the Western Cape, the ANC was second in the Western Cape but they did not have a seat in that cabinet. They had to be consistent in what they were doing so it was not right for the DA to say that they were the official opposition, when just across the street the opposite was true.

The ANC proposed that Ms Charnley, Mr Sedibe, Ms Lloyd, Ms Vos and Dr Mtimkulu formed the SABC interim Board, and that Ms Charnley would be their Chairperson and Dr Mtimkulu would be the deputy Chairperson.

The Committee voted on the suggestion; the ANC members (Mr Vadi, Mr Mkhize, Ms Morutoa, Ms Magazi, Mr Kholwane, Mr Radebe and Mr Manamela) and the IFP member (Rev Zondi) were for, and the DA (Mr Van Den Berg and Ms Mazibuko), COPE (Ms Kilian) and the ID (Ms De Lille) voting against.

The ANC suggestion was accepted with 8 votes for and 4 against.

This fulfilled the procedure to obtain the names of the five candidates recommended for appointment to an interim board in terms of section 15A(3)(a) of the Broadcasting Act (Act No 4 of 1999); and (ii) the names of the candidates recommended for appointment as chairperson and deputy chairperson of the interim board in terms of section 15A(4) of the said Act.

Meeting ends.


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