South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) Board: shortlist of candidates

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Communications

16 October 2018
Chairperson: Mr C Maxegwana (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee met to discuss the recruitment process for members of the Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA) and the South African Broadcasting Cooperation (SABC) boards. It was agreed by all the Members that they could not proceed with shortlisting candidates for the MDDA, as there was a gender imbalance of only four female applicants among the 35 applications. It was agreed that the post would be re- advertised by March 2019 in the hope of attrcting more female applicants. The platforms on which the advert would be posted would be increased to reach those in even the remotest areas of the country.

Members of the Committee then worked individually and submitted personal selections of 12 candidates, from which the final 12 candidates to be shortlisted for the SABC were selected and agreed upon. Their selections were based on the following criteria: knowledge and experience in finance, corporate governance, and human resource and people management. Of the 12, four were female Chartered Accountants.

The 12 selected names were: Mr Kevin Jones; Adv Lekalakala Motshedi, Mr Thabo Leshilo; Mr Diliza Madikiza; Ms Unathi Magwentshu; Ms Makhubalo Vuyokazi; Mr Mathews Mofokeng; Ms Bernedette Muthien; Mr Mergan Naidoo; Ms Thozama Nene; Mr Michael Nurick and Ms Jasmina Patel.

The Committee agreed that these names would be posted on the website for public comment for seven days, alongside another seven days of qualification and other checks, before conducting interviews on 20 October.

The Chairperson urged the media to assist in motivating the public to give their input on the shortlisted candidates.

Meeting report

The Chairperson announced the meeting agenda of shortlisting candidates for the South African Broadcasting Cooperation (SABC). It had been discussed briefly last week to shortlist the members for both the SABC and the Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA) boards, but the Committee needed to discuss the MDDA first, and then proceed to the SABC. He reminded Members that there were 80 applicants for the SABC board, and 35 for the MDDA.

MDDA

The Chairperson said they could not proceed with the short-listing for the MDDA, because only three of the 35 applicants were women. Such a situation was unacceptable, and more women had to be encouraged to apply for the positions. He asked for this to be dealt with and check the views of the Members, because having three women would not be in line with the mandate.

Mr M Kalako (ANC) agreed that it was not right to have three females out of 35 applicants, and a balance had to be made. He proposed that the post be re-advertised for a short while so that other women may get to apply as well.

Mr N Xaba (ANC) said that in light of Mama Betina turning 100 soon, he supported the notion to re- advertise, and that this should be done within a period of 14 to 21 days.

Ms M Matshoba (ANC) also supported re-advertising of the post because according to their mandate, women were a must.

Ms V van Dyk (DA) agreed to re-advertising and that it should be within a short time frame.

The Chairperson proposed that the advert must be posted within the first three months of 2019, because Parliament was rising soon.

Mr R Tseli (ANC) said they should also consider the newspaper sin which the advert was placed, to avoid the same situation of significantly fewer female applications.

The Chairperson, in agreement with Mr Tseli, said that perhaps the other reason why the number of applicants was low was the choice of media. He said broader coverage was needed to ensure those in furthest areas of the country were also reached. He also noted a correction, that it was four female applicants, and not three as earlier stated.

Everything had to be in place before the end of March 2019.

Shortlisting for SABC

The Chairperson said that the Committee was going to look at the process that informed the shortlisting, as was done in August. There were four vacancies in the SABC board. The very first vacancy was before the appointment of the new board. It had taken a month or two before members of the board were appointed and during that process, one had had to withdraw because of an appointment within the sector, causing a conflict of interest. As such, there was a pre-existing vacancy before the presidency appointed the new board.

The only Chartered Accountant present had at the time had resigned, and time did not allow for conducting an exit interview with her, so there were no exit interviews on all four of the positions to date. The exit interviews were, however, still required and necessary to establish why the people had resigned initially.

The number of candidates to be shortlisted was three per post, and there were four open posts in total. Once shortlisted, those 12 names would have to be published according to the agreed criterion for shortlisting, and one of them was the skills needed in the SABC. These skills were finance -- where there was a major weakness -- human resources and general corporate governance and human management knowledge, which played a key role in governing the affairs of the SABC. Thus, the personnel had to have a broad knowledge base and experience.

After the shortlisting, the list would be published for seven days for the public to make comments about the candidates, and simultaneously the 12 shortlisted candidates would undergo a qualifications and security check. That involved a process of two full weeks total before conducting interviews.

The Chairperson then opened the floor to suggestions on how shortlisting was to be carried out before arriving at a final decision.

Ms P van Damme (DA) then brought the attention of the Members to a Mr Muhuba, who allegedly had his Masters thesis written for him. She recalled that the Committee and board was going to follow this up with the university, and emphasised the importance of taking a stance on how to handle someone who falsified information.

The Chairperson assured the Committee that Mr Muhuba’s matter was being investigated. It had been more than two months now, and an update was required from the chairperson of the SABC board because that matter was being investigated at board level.

Mr Tseli said that Members had give their input on the candidate list, and each present must motivate their submissions as had been done in the past

The Chairman then assigned five minutes to Members to discuss the 12 names among themselves.

After the discussion, the Chairperson read out the outcome and listed the names of the 12 shortlisted candidates (ensuring to state their gender) as follows:.

#18 - Kevin Jones (Mr)

#20 - Likalakala Mutshedi (Mr) #21 – Leshilo Thabo Jere (Mr) #22 – Madikiza Deleza (Mr) #23 – Magwenju Unathi (Ms)

#27 – Makubalo Vuyokazi (Ms – Chartered accountant) #40 – Matthews Mufukeng (Mr)

#40 – Muthieng Benedit (Ms)

#50 – Meagan Naidoo (Ms – Chartered Accountant) #52 – Thozama Nene (Ms)

#56 – Micah Noorik (Me) #59 – Jasmina Patel (Ms)

Mr Kalako said that there were four chartered accountants, and all were female.

The Chairperson said those were the 12 candidates and asked if all Members agreed to the list and the interview date of 20 October.

Ms Van Damme agreed, especially with the female chartered accountants. People would have to answer questions, and interviews were anticipated. They were happy that there had been quite a few names that could be agreed upon.

Mr Kalako said the ANC was happy to have people with expertise, especially women. He also said they should look at the youth, especially the women who were chartered accountants, taking into account the withdrawal of some board members and the need for getting a good quality crop to fill those gaps.

The Chairperson then requested the secretary to read the report and state the 12 names of the shortlisted candidates

 The secretary, Mr Thembinkosi Ngoma, read the progress report as follows:

The Portfolio Committee on Communications, having considered the request of the Minister of Communications to commence with the filling of four vacancies on the SABC Board, reports as follows:

A letter dated 10 May 2018 was received from the Minister of Communications informing the National Assembly of the resignations of Ms R Kalidass and Ms F Potgieter-Gqubule from the SABC Board, as well as the declining by Ms N Batyi of the offer to be appointed to the Board, and requesting the National Assembly to recommend two candidates for appointment, in terms of section 13 of the Broadcasting Act (No 4 of 1999), for the unexpired portion of the period for which Ms Kalidass and Ms Potgieter-Gcubule were appointed, and one candidate for the unexpired portion of the period for which Ms Batyi would have been appointed.

A second letter dated 11 July 2018 was received from the Minister of Communications informing the National Assembly of the resignation of Mr V Rambau, in terms of section 15(2) of the Broadcasting Act (No 4 of 1999), from the SABC Board with effect from 29 June 2018, and requesting the National Assembly to recommend a candidate for appointment, in terms of section 13 of the Broadcasting Act, for the unexpired portion of the period for which Mr Rambau was appointed, ie until 15 October 2022.

The Committee advertised the call for persons to be nominated to serve on the SABC Board and received 80 nominations. On 16 October 2018, the Committee met and recommended that the following candidates be shortlisted for interviews: Mr Kevin Jones; Adv Lekalakala Motshedi, Mr Thabo Leshilo; Mr Diliza Madikiza; Ms Unathi Magwentshu; Ms Makhubalo Vuyokazi; Mr Mathews Mofokeng; Ms Bernedette Muthien; Mr Mergan Naidoo; Ms Thozama Nene; Mr Michael Nurick and Ms Jasmina Patel.

  Mr Xaba asked for clarification on where exactly the MDDA posts would be re-advertised.

The Chairperson restated Mr Tseli’s request to reach everybody possible in the country so that the entire public was involved. They would try to reach the most remote areas of the country; using multiple avenues to publicise the 12 names to be interviewed, besides the website.

He asked if all Members seconded the report.

Ms Van Damme and Ms Van Dyk agreed to the report.

The Chairperson commended the Committee on how this matter had been handled, and how Members had  been  able to find each other amidst difficulties. Agreeing as smoothly as had been done on the 12 names showed the maturity of the Committee Members and also the art of negotiation and finding each other.

The report would be adopted, and there would be monitoring to ensure that these names were all over the country. He hoped the media would assist in ensuring the whole country got to talking about this matter.

The SABC was currently a matter of debate in the country; whether on finances, whether discussions between management and unions, section 189 – it was all in the public discussion. Together, the Committee would be able to assist in turning the corner on what was happening at the Corporation.

For now, public comment was crucially needed -- having people saying all they wanted to say about what they know about the candidates, not necessarily voting for them to be on the board.

The other issues were that this was a process for South African citizens. Non-citizens were automatically disqualified, and so the list must be thoroughly checked. The public should raise any issue on the 12 before appointments were made, so that unqualified people were not appointed.

The meeting was adjourned.

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