The Committee was supposed to receive a briefing from South African Broadcast Corporation (SABC) on its revised Annual Performance Plan (APP) and Strategic Plan.
However, Members decided that the meeting should not proceed since the Minister, Deputy Minister and the Director-General of Communications were not present in the meeting. Members complained about the fact that the Director-General only sent his apology via SMS during the meeting and this showed a complete disregard of the Committee. They agreed that there were a lot of things going on at the SABC and it was pointless to only engage with the interim board.
Chairperson’s opening remarks
The Chairperson welcomed everyone and stated that the meeting was long overdue considering the things that had happened at the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) in the past couple of months. The presentation should also speak to the entity’s financial performance so that the Committee had a better understanding of what was happening. The interim board should brief the Committee on what was being done to bring about stability at the SABC and what plans are in place to move forward.
The Committee noted apologies from absent members, SABC officials and the Minister.
Ms Z Ncitha (ANC, Eastern Cape) expressed concern about the fact that the Director-General was absent as this was the person who was responsible to account for the work of the organisation. It was becoming a norm for Ministers or Director-Generals not to be present when they are supposed to appear in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) and this was something that needed to be registered to the highest office.
The Chairperson appreciated that Ms Ncitha was bringing up this important point as there are indeed cases even in other NCOP meetings where ministers would not attend some meetings.
Mr J Julius (DA, Gauteng) remarked that the country has a bloated Cabinet and therefore ministers are not the only ones to be present in the meeting but deputy ministers as well. It was unclear if the Committee had received an apology from the Deputy Minister, Ms Thandi Mahambehlala.
Mr Sandile Nene, Special Adviser to the Minister, Department of Communications, explained that there was no apology from the Director-General. The ministers and deputy ministers are responsible for attending Cabinet meetings on Wednesday.
Mr Julius said that it was pointless for the Committee to proceed with the meeting since the Minister, Deputy and Director-General of Communications were not present in the meeting. The meeting should be cancelled until the Committee gets the relevant people present in the meeting.
Mr A Singh (ANC, KwaZulu Natal) also agreed that the Committee should not proceed with the meeting since SABC had interim board members and the acting CEO and this was not good enough for the Committee to receive the presentation. The fact that the Director-General did not even send an apology showed a complete disregard of the Committee.
[During the meeting, the Committee received an sms apology from the DG]
Mr E Mlambo (ANC, Gauteng) concurred with Members that the Committee should not proceed with the meeting since SABC had an interim board. The Committee should not accept the apology of the Director-General as it was sent via an SMS during the meeting. There was a lot that had gone wrong at the SABC and the Committee should send a clear message to the Department that the Committee needed to be taken serious.
The Chairperson mentioned that the Committee would need to meet with the Chief Whip in order to make a determination when to meet again with the SABC.
The meeting was adjourned.
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