Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA) Board appointments: recommendations

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20 November 2012
Chairperson: Mr S Kholwane (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

In deliberating on the interviews and who to recommend as appointees to the Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA) Board, the Committee adopted both recommendations of the task force to appoint Mr Nguna to fill the position resulting from the expiry of the term of Ms Gugu Msibi, and to appoint Ms Nolutando for the position being made available due to the resignation of a board member. Some members were concerned that the Committee might be to blame for the poor performance of entities since they were the ones who recommended the board members for appointment by the President. A problem raised was the recycling of officials from department to department for boards. Members agreed that there was need to find a way to assess the performance record of candidates in their previous posts.

Meeting report

The Chair stated that the taskforce had short-listed three candidates who had been interviewed the previous week: Ms Fadila Lagadien, Ms Denise Roodt and Mr Robert Nkuna. He added that the position being filled was as a result of the expiry of the term of Ms Gugu Msibi. The Committee had to recommend one of the candidates to the President for appointment to the MDDA board.

Mr A Steyn (DA) asked the Chair to give members the recommendations of the task force. 

The Chair replied that the task team had recommended the appointment of Mr Nkuna.

Mr Steyn was concerned that the Committee was displeased with the performance of the entities and often blamed the boards for the poor performance, yet Members were the ones responsible for recommending board members for appointment. He cautioned against recycling people from one government department to another. He mentioned that all the candidates interviewed the previous week had worked or were working for a government department and had some relationship with the Communications Department. He had personally preferred Ms Lagadien for appointment, but did not think any of the candidates were ideal. However, he accepted the recommendation of the taskforce.

Ms R Lesoma (ANC) said that even though Mr Steyn made a good point, they needed people with experience in the field. The problem was that Members only got candidates from a list of nominees, so they had no control over their qualifications. However, in future they should find out the performance record of candidates in their previous positions. She seconded the selection of the task force.

Mr Stein asked how they could oversee the performance of entities. They needed to make sure board members were aware of their mandate.

Mr C Kekana (ANC) said that if the Committee appointed people who failed to live up to standard, the Committee was to blame. The biggest problem was that members depended on the candidates’ stated credentials and how they presented themselves. He added that the Department was also very unstable, and cited the high incidence of resignations as an example. Thus, it was difficult to monitor progress. There was need to work harder to stabilise the Department.

Ms R Morutoa (ANC) stated that as much as the Committee should take responsibility, the Department also had to take responsibility for the poor performance of entities. She suggested that the Committee have discussions on the prior performance of appointed officials with the Department so as to improve the quality of people appointed in future. She added that the matter of recycled workers was an important one that needed to be addressed to ensure that people appointed performed.

The Chair said that Ms M Shinn (DA) had previously proposed that the Committee put more focus on the Department the following year. He said that in successful countries, the government focused on key issues where they believed that overcoming challenges would lead to significant development. He suggested that Committee take such an approach.

Mr Kekana said that the Committee had addressed the issue of focusing on key issues to the Department. The philosophy of performance stated that departments should not have more than four objectives. He felt that the Department had not heeded the Committee’s advice.

Ms Shinn was concerned that the Committee had no idea what the entities had accomplished through their programmes.

Ms Van der Merwe moved to adopt the report.

Ms Lesoma seconded the motion.

The report recommending Mr Robert Nkuna was adopted.

The Chair said that the Committee had received 11 nominations and short listed four candidates for the position created by the resignation of a board member. The candidates had been interviewed in an open meeting and the task force recommended the appointment of Ms Noluthando Migogo.

Ms Lesoma agreed with the task team and felt that Ms Migogo was would bring a fresh perspective to the position because she was young.

Mr Kekana agreed with Ms Lesoma and added that Ms Migogo would bring vibrancy to the position.

Ms Shinn moved for a motion to adopt the report.

Ms Morutoa seconded the motion.

The report recommending Ms Noluthando Migogo was adopted.

The Chair said that it was necessary for the Committee to appreciate the good leadership of the outgoing Chairperson of the MDDA, Ms Gugu Msibi. MDDA had received an unqualified audit report under her leadership. He added that this was one entity where the executive had not complained about interference from the board. He mentioned that this was a great accomplishment for somebody so young.

He was grateful to a board member for resigning willingly due to a possible conflict of interest.

He said that the Committee was still waiting for a letter from the Department of Communications on the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) councilors. He said that there were only six out of nine councilors remaining. If two were sick, they could not hold a meeting.

He said that the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) was dealing with the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) that day. He encouraged members to attend if they had time as it was important to synergise the work of Committees.

Mr Stein requested that in future, members be notified of such meetings in advance.

The Chair said that he had been consulting with the different Chairs to align meetings so that members could attend Standing Committee on Appropriations and Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) meetings with the relevant entities.

Ms Morutoa asked whether they would have meetings the following week.

The Chair replied that yes, they would be meeting on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of the following week.

Ms Morutoa had reservations about the SCOPA meetings. Why was it a big issue when entities met with SCOPA? Was it that meetings with the Communications Committee were not important? Was it that the entities were being evasive and did not give the Committee all the information that they should have? She said that this was a weakness of Parliament: they did not receive reports of other parliamentary committees that dealt with common entities.

The Chair said that coordination among parliamentary committees was a serious issue that was a work in progress.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
Meeting was adjourned.

[Apologies were received from Ms Z Ndlazi (ANC) and Ms S Tsebe (ANC)]


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