SABC Board: interviews day 2

This premium content has been made freely available

Communications

06 March 2019
Chairperson: Dr H Mkhize (ANC)
Share this page:

Meeting Summary

VIDEO: SABC Board interviews, 06 March 2019
 

The Committee conducted interviews of shortlisted candidates for the 8 vacancies on the SABC Board.

On day 2, the second batch of candidates were interviewed: Mr John Sembie Danana, Chief Livhuwani Matsila, Mr William Malema Ramoshaba, Adv Lufuno Nevondwe. Ms Lulama Mokhobo, Mr Mpiyakhe Mkholo, Dr. Marcia Socikwa, and Mr Itani Tseisi.

The Committee tested the candidates on a wide variety of issues including digital migration, political interference, ethics, governance, unfunded mandates, funding model and their understanding of various legislation. They were also asked what value and unique skills they would bring to the board, the SABC’s mandate and how they would fix the myriad of problems facing the public broadcaster and the board.

Meeting report

Members agreed that the interviews should not be used as a platform for campaigning and promoting political agendas.

Some stressed that the candidates ought to competently respond to the questions on how to address political interference within the SABC.

The Chairperson supported this agreement, highlighting that the Committee had to evaluate the ability of each candidate to adequately deal with the possible conflict between their personal political aspirations and the responsibilities of the SABC Board.

Candidate one: Mr JS Danana

The Chairperson welcomed Mr Danana to the interview and introduced all the panel members. She then asked the candidate to briefly share, with the panel, the relevant educational qualifications and work experience he would bring to the SABC, should he be appointed.

Mr N Xaba (ANC) asked Mr Danana how he would people to pay their TV licence fees.

Mr Xaba asked the candidate how he would assist the SABC in the speedy implementation of digital migration.

Dr M Ndlozi (EFF) asked Mr Danana to confirm that he previously served on the SABC Board from 2011 till 2013. He then recognised this period as an era that was fundamental to the rise of Mr Hlaudi Motsoeneng, the former Chief Operations Officer (COO) of the SABC. He subsequently asked Mr Danana what his position was concerning the fractured board that was chaired by Mr Ben Ngubane; and also asked him what he did to challenge the obvious abuse of processes and internal controls associated to the irregular favour that Mr Motsoeneng had with the board. What difference would the candidate make in the board now, which he was unable to make then?

Ms P Van Damme (DA) noted that Mr Danana served on the Board that was chaired by Mr Ngubane. She highlighted that this was a board which acted irregularly in appointing Mr Motsoeneng, violated the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA), the Memorandum of Incorporation (MOI) as well as the Broadcasting Act when it removed the requirements for the COO position. She then asked what Mr Danana did in the midst of all of these wrongful events that were occurring, while he was serving. Why should he be considered for a seat on the SABC Board again?

Mr R Tseli (ANC) asked Mr Danana to convince the panel that, should he be appointed, he would not resign this time around - should challenges arise.

Mr Tseli stated that the SABC Board is accountable to the shareholder in terms of the performance and the affairs of the SABC. He asked Mr Danana why there would always be tensions when the shareholder representative tried to intervene on issues plaguing the SABC.

Mr Tseli asked how the candidate would assist in dealing with unfunded public mandates, including how the SABC struggles with obtaining state funding.

Mr Tseli asked Mr Danana if he agreed with a proposal to review the role of Executive Directors within the SABC board.

Mr M Kalako (ANC) asked Mr Danana if there was any political interference during his previous tenure with the SABC Board. How did he deal with the relationship between the board and the newsrooms?

Mr Kalako asked who made the initial decision, which led to his resignation, that Mr Motsoeneng should not be removed from office? Did you participate in the proceedings leading up to the Public Protector’s report?

Ms M Matshoba (ANC) mentioned that the SABC, using section 189, planned to retrench staff members. Was the candidate in support of that idea? If not, what ideas would he propose to restabilise the SABC without those individuals losing their jobs?

The Chairperson requested that the candidate should give responses that are aligned to his propositions of personal commitments instead of giving technical answers.

The Chairperson asked the candidate if the panel did justice in covering all the questions and matters that were of relevance and if there was any additional information he wanted to share during the interview but did not have a chance to do so.

Refer to audio for responses

Candidate Two: Mr Livhuwani Matsila

The Chairperson welcomed Mr Matsila to the interview and introduced all the panel members. She then asked the candidate to briefly share, with the panel, the relevant educational qualifications and work experience he would bring to the SABC, should he be appointed.

Mr Xaba acknowledged that Mr Matsila had a passion for serving communities. He then asked him how he would assist in maintaining and sustaining community radio channels, should he be appointed.

Mr Xaba asked how he would you assist the SABC in removing it from a state of bankruptcy.

Ms Van Damme noted that Mr Matsila did not have any broadcasting experience and asked him on what basis he should be appointed. She then asked what skills he would bring into the position.

Ms Van Damme stated that while every South African has a right to exercise freedom of political association, the SABC aims to employ politically independent candidates. She was uncomfortable that Mr Matsila was an integral member of the ANC Caucus and asked him to assure the Committee he would be able act separate from his political affiliations.

Mr Tseli stated that the SABC Board is accountable to the shareholder in terms of the performance and the affairs of the SABC. He asked Mr Matsila why there would always be tensions when the shareholder representative tried to intervene on issues plaguing the SABC.

Mr Tseli asked how the candidate would assist in dealing with unfunded public mandates, including how the SABC struggles with obtaining state funding.

Mr Tseli asked Mr Matsila if he agreed with a proposal to review the role of Executive Directors within the SABC board.

Dr Ndlozi asked Mr Matsila to confirm if he was close friends with President Cyril Ramaphosa and asked how that friendship would not influence the conduct of the SABC Board in favour of the ANC and to that of the President.

Dr Ndlozi noted that Mr Matsila was the interim Chairperson of the Board of the United African Apostolic Church, following the death of Archbishop Moreri. He then asked him to clarify what had happened to the previous Chairperson.

Dr Ndlozi asked Mr Matsila to verify or refute the allegations that he belonged to a group that was involved in gun violence incidences.

Dr Ndlozi asked Mr Matsila to confirm if the National Lottery (NL) had founded many of his community projects and if the company, in his personal capacity or through his projects, had donated money to the foundation of the Chairperson of the NL Board, Prof Nevhutanda.

Ms Van Dyk asked Mr Matsila where his recent employment was. She also raised concerns about possible political interference in Mr Matsila’s conduct within the SABC Board, due to his political affiliations.

Mr Kalako asked Mr Matsila what problems were affecting the SABC and how he would contribute in solving them.

The Chairperson asked Mr Matsila if the SABC could contribute towards transformation in society, with a special focus on rural communities as well as the development and empowerment of women.

Mr Tseli asked Mr Matsila what his thoughts were about the significance of role played by community radio stations in developing the communities.

Dr Ndlozi commented that Mr Matsila was already interfering with the content presented by the SABC if he felt that the company should not only tell depressing stories but also those that are empowering. In his view, Mr Matsila would be editorially dictating the stories that the SABC plan to tell, instead of allowing them to tell the stories as they are.

Ms Van Damme asked Mr Matsila if any of the entities that were under his management were involved in business deals with government.

Mr Xaba stated that the SABC has an education responsibility and asked if he thought the company should tell the story of the government’s fight against corruption.

The Chairperson asked the candidate if he felt the panel did justice in covering all the questions and matters that were of relevance to his application and if there was any additional information he would have liked to share during the interview but did not have a chance to do so.

Refer to audio for responses

Candidate Three: Mr Malema Ramoshaba

The Chairperson welcomed Mr Ramoshaba to the interview and introduced all the panel members. She then asked the candidate to briefly share, with the panel, the relevant educational qualifications and work experience he would bring to the SABC, should he be appointed.

Ms Van Damme complimented Mr Ramoshaba on the details of his CV and noted that he had the relevant experience and the requirements for the job, as per the Broadcasting Act. She then highlighted that the SABC was in the midst of dealing with its financial crisis and government was trying to get the company to a point where it does not rely on the government’s financial assistance – where it could self-sustain. She ended by asking what innovative ideas Mr Ramoshaba would bring into the SABC Board, should he be appointed; what was unique about him compared to the other candidates that were shortlisted for the job.

Dr Ndlozi asked Mr Ramoshaba why he was interested in the position at his age. Why should the panel consider a pensioner for a seat in the board? He also pointed out that elderly people have a tendency to be reluctant in embracing change and that they are too traditional. He added that the board needed people with the energy to disrupt to the culture of corruption and bring out positive change.

Mr Tseli stated that the SABC Board is accountable to the shareholder in terms of the performance and the affairs of the SABC. He asked Mr Matsila why there would always be tensions when the shareholder representative tried to intervene on issues plaguing the SABC.

Mr Tseli asked how the candidate would assist in dealing with unfunded public mandates, including how the SABC struggles with obtaining state funding.

Mr Tseli asked Mr Ramoshaba if he agreed with a proposal to review the role of Executive Directors within the SABC board.

Mr Xaba asked Mr Ramoshaba about his views on digital migration, in the midst of the fourth industrial revolution.

Mr Xaba asked the candidate how he would assist the SABC in removing it from a state of bankruptcy.

Ms Van Dyk asked Mr Ramoshaba if he would advocate for the advancement of political agendas of any party or if he would support the SABC operating without any political interference. She also asked if he benefited from any government contracts.

The Chairperson asked the candidate if he felt the panel did justice in covering all the questions and matters that were of relevance to his application and if there was any additional information he would have liked to share during the interview but did not have a chance to do so.

Refer to audio for responses

Candidate Four: Mr Lufuno Nevondwe

Mr Tseli first asked Adv. Nevondwe to account for the reasons behind his four previous resignations.

Mr Tseli stated that the SABC Board is accountable to the shareholder in terms of the performance and the affairs of the SABC. He asked Mr Nevondwe why there would always be tensions when the shareholder representative tried to intervene on issues plaguing the SABC.

Mr Tseli asked how the candidate would assist in dealing with unfunded public mandates, including how the SABC struggles with obtaining state funding.

Mr Tseli asked Mr Ramoshaba if he agreed with a proposal to review the role of Executive Directors within the SABC board.

Mr Xaba asked Adv Nevondwe about his views on digital migration, in the midst of the fourth industrial revolution.

Mr Xaba asked the candidate how he would encourage the public to pay their tv license fees in order to help end the SABCs bankruptcy.

Ms Van Damme asked Adv Nevondwe what he thought was the role of the media is in democracy. She further asked if he thought the media must be restricted and report only positive news instead of reporting news accurately and uncensored. Do you think that the media is not accurately depicting the state of South Africa? Do you believe in the ANC policy of having a Media Appeals Tribunal?

Ms Van Damme asked if the candidate’s criminal record been expunged?

Dr Ndlozi asked Adv Nevondwe to define the fourth Industrial Revolution. He also asked him what challenges exists for broadcasting in this revolution and how the SABC could respond to this.

Mr Kalako asked Adv Nevondwe about his achievements and contribution while serving on the Films and Publications Board.

Mr Kalako asked the candidate why he wanted to be on the SABC Board.

Ms Van Dyk also asked if Adv. Nevondwe would advocate for the advancement of political agendas of any party or if he would support the SABC operating without any political interference.

Ms Van Damme indicated that there was a controversy about the film titled Inxeba and the classification it was given by a certain classification committee. What was the candidate’spersonal view about that classification?

Mr Xaba stated that the government had the capacity to self-correct and asked if it would be appropriate for the SABC to communicate that to the public.

The Chairperson asked the candidate if he felt the panel did justice in covering all the questions and matters that were of relevance to his application and if there was any additional information he would have liked to share during the interview but did not have a chance to do so.

Refer to audio for responses

Candidate 5: Ms Lulama Mokhobo

The Chairperson asked the candidate to briefly share, with the panel, the relevant educational qualifications and work experience she would bring to the SABC, should she be appointed.

Ms Van Damme said that Ms Mokhobo has requisite experience but there are few things which needed to be cleared out. She noted that the Public Protector had recommended that disciplinary action be taken against her for approving Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s irregular salary increments when she was working at the SABC. Therefore, she asked the candidate if she had challenged the Public Protector’s finding in that regard.

Ms Van Damme noted that in her working relationship with Hlaudi Motsoeneng, she had described him as a bully who made her life a living hell which resulted in her quitting. The SABC now has not changed; it is still a highly contested environment which is extremely difficult. She asked the candidate that if she could not take it then, does she now have what it takes to go through that difficult time again.

Ms Van Damme noted that she was once quoted verbatim in an interview where she was asked if she agreed with Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s policy of 70% happy news. Her response was that the public was tired of seeing the same boring pictures and looking at another corruption case and yet there was so much good that was happening in the country. Ms Van Damme asked if the candidate agreed with the 70% happy news policy.

Mr Xaba noted that SABC has a history of bankruptcy. He asked her how this can be resolved.

Mr Xaba asked how she would ensure that digital migration is speedily implemented.

Mr Xaba noted that in as much as the SABC’s role is to entertain and educate, what can be done to communicate or give information to the public about the good stories of government?

Mr Tseli noted that he was battling to understand the position that Ms Lulama took at the time when Multichoice entered into an agreement with SABC.

Mr Tseli noted that Ms Mokhobo said she is not sure about what was agreed to in the meeting between Multichoice and SABC, but assuming she went back and looked at the minutes; what were the minutes saying in that controversial meeting?

Mr Tseli stated that the SABC Board is accountable to the shareholder in terms of the performance and the affairs of the SABC. He asked Ms Mokhobo why there would always be tensions when the shareholder representative tried to intervene on issues plaguing the SABC.

Mr Tseli asked how the candidate would assist in dealing with unfunded public mandates, including how the SABC struggles with obtaining state funding.

Mr Tseli asked Ms Mokhobo if he agreed with a proposal to review the role of Executive Directors within the SABC board.

Mr Tseli asked the candidate about the role of community radios in terms of development, education, information, and entertainment.

Ms Matshoba asked Ms Mokhobo what she would bring to fix the crisis currently being faced by SABC so that it can be stable again.

Ms Matshoba asked if the candidate supported retrenchments while at the SABC and to give reasons for her response.

Mr Matshoba asked the candidate, as a former executive board member, what caused the bankruptcy at the SABC.

Mr Kalako noted that during the time when Ms Mokhobo was group CEO at SABC she had said she did not challenge the Public Protector’s Reporter because it was expensive to do so. He asked her if she really approved Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s salary increment. If she did, was there any pressure to do that? 

Mr Kalako asked that when the Board Chairperson was proposing the salary increment for Hlaudi Motsoeneng, did she put together the HR team to look at his qualifications and evaluate everything to determine the salary. If not, what was the reason?

Mr Kalako noted that Ms Mokhobo was part of the team leading a campaign for ETV. He asked her if she was hired or consulted or if she is a shareholder there.

Mr Kalako noted that recently there was a relationship between Multichoice and ANN7. However, there was an announcement that Multichoice was not going to renew that relationship. Multichoice called for bids for groups who wanted to enter into a relationship with it and replace ANN7. He asked Ms Mokhobo if she was involved or not in one of the groups. If she was, in what capacity?  

Dr Ndlozi noted that Ms Mokhobo was in the leadership of the SABC when the Must Carry policy was passed. She was a group executive from 2005-2010 and CEO from 2012-2014 and the policy dates back to 2008.  He noted that the Must-Carry Policy was a bad decision which landed the SABC into financial problems. He asked her what role she played in the making of this decision and if she fought against this decision.

Dr Ndlozi noted that Urban Brew has been dominating programmes on SABC historically. She was a CEO at Urban Brew and then moved to be a CEO at SABC. He noted that one of the agent transformation projects is to minimise the domination of companies like Urban Brew so as to empower other young and upcoming producers. He asked her why she did not change that reality when she became a CEO at SABC because even up to now Urban Brew gets a large share of the SABC budget.

Dr Ndlozi asked the candidate if she is returned to the SABC, is she not going back to settle old scores particularly with the politicians and some of her colleagues who are still there that she might have worked with when she was CEO.

Mr Ndlozi asked the candidate what people do not last on the Board and why she thinks she will.

The Chairperson asked the candidate if she felt the panel did justice in covering all the questions and matters that were of relevance to his application and if there was any additional information she would have liked to share during the interview but did not have a chance to do so.

Refer to the audio for answers

Candidate 6: Mr Mpiyakhe Mkholo

The Chairperson asked the candidate to briefly share, with the panel, the relevant educational qualifications and work experience she would bring to the SABC, should he be appointed.

Mr Xaba asked if the candidate if he has a TV license; and if he is paying the license fee.

Mr Xaba asked what he thinks can be done in order to encourage people to pay their TV licenses.

Mr Xaba asked Mr Mkholo what can be done to resolve the bankruptcy affecting the SABC.

Ms Van Damme referred to the candidate’s CV and said his experiences are more in line with being a spokesperson or a reputation manager. She said that they are not looking to hire a spokesperson since SABC has a whole unit for that which is dedicated to managing its reputation. They are looking for people who will bring innovative solutions to all the problems the SABC is facing. She then asked why he wanted to be on the SABC board other than being a reputation manager.

Ms Van Damme asked the candidate to give one innovative idea that he thinks, if implemented, will assist SABC.

Mr Tseli asked if the support given to SABC radios and community radio is enough. If this is not enough what will he do to make sure they are supported.

Mr Tseli asked him what he deemed as the SABC role with regards to the upcoming elections.

Mr Tseli noted that the SABC is accountable to the shareholders but most often when the shareholder intervenes it is accused of interference. He then asked how the candidate would ensure that these criticisms that are always leveled towards the shareholder are minimized.

Mr Tseli noted that the SABC board has on a number of occasions said to the Parliament that part of the reasons they find themselves in financial difficulties is the issue of unfunded mandates. He asked him that if appointed; what would he contribute to the board to ensure that they deal with this particular challenge

Mr Kalako asked the candidate to elaborate on the fiduciary duties of a board member.

Mr Kalako asked Mr Mkholo what legislation governs the operation of the SABC and the board.

Dr Ndlozi noted that the candidate was a manager at the SABC and questioned what he did and why he left.

Mr Xaba asked him if community radios are getting the necessary support and what he could contribute to ensuring they get adequate support.

Ms Matshoba asked the candidate about his view on prophets who claim to bring people back from dead and what can be done to intervene in this regard?

The Chairperson asked the candidate if he felt the panel did justice in covering all the questions and matters that were of relevance to his application and if there was any additional information he would have liked to share during the interview but did not have a chance to do so.

Refer to the audio for answers

Candidate 7: Dr Marcia Socikwa

The Chairperson asked the candidate to briefly share, with the panel, the relevant educational qualifications and work experience she would bring to the SABC, should she be appointed.

Ms Van Damme referred to the listing of Vodacom on JSE (Johannesburg Securities Exchange) ten years ago. According to reports, the candidate had been pressured by COSATU to rig the listing. The failure of the listing resulted in the rand weakening and caused great embarrassment to South Africa. Ms Van Damme asked her if she was pressured by COSATU. If so, why did she, despite knowing her mandate, respond to COSATU’s pressure instead of doing what was right.

Ms Van Damme noted that in her current profession at UNISA, the Committee received a letter from the Union (Professional Association of South Africa) which contains some very alarming allegations which still need to be investigated. One of them is that she is alleged to have said she has the mandate to get rid all the Coloureds and Indians. Another allegation is that the son of Minister Nzimande, Nkululeko Nzimande was appointed by her without following of proper HR processes. She asked for her side of the story since this is a major red flag if she is to be appointed as a board member.

 Ms Van Damme asked her how Nkululeko Nzimande got his fixed term contract. Was the job advertised and did he apply for the job?

Mr Xaba asked her to enlighten the Committee about her guest lecturing at the Catholic University of Brussels.

Mr Xaba asked about the candidate’s views on political interference at the SABC.  

Mr Tseli asked her to share her experience when she worked with ICASA (Independent Communications Authority of South Africa) from 2006-2018 with regards to the SABC’s compliance with ICASA regulations.

Mr Tseli asked her what role she thinks tertiary institutions can play in assisting the SABC so that it can have a good educational mandate.

Mr Tseli asked her what role community radios are playing and if they are getting the necessary support.

Dr Ndlozi asked why her CV says that the Committee may get references on request.

Dr Ndlozi noted that she was at ICASA when the Must Carry Policy was passed. He noted that those ridiculous regulations robbed the SABC and made it lose money since they basically handed audiences to Multichoice at no cost. He asked her if she was part of the decision.

Dr Ndlozi noted that when she was at ICASA she was at the helm of an institution where she could have ensured that data costs for people were not expensive. He noted that during her tenure there was almost nothing that was done to try and drive down these costs. During her time there he does not see her as having had a dedicated rigour in that sense. He asked her why that was the case.

Dr Ndlozi asked the candidates why the boards always disintegrate and why she thinks she will be able to finish a term on the board.

Mr Ndlozi asked if she is really racist against Indians and Coloureds according to the accusations made against her at UNISA

Mr Kalako asked the candidate if there is a policy at UNISA that mandates her to advertise the job as it relates to Nkululeko Nzimande getting a job without following proper HR procedures.

Mr Kalako asked her what can be done to avoid the culture of embezzlement of finances and giving tenders to cronies and positions to friends and families.

Ms Van Dyk asked her if she was saying that since UNISA is a public University and anyone can just walk in and be given a contract with no advertisements or interviews (with regards to Nkululeko Nzimande getting a job without following the proper procedure).

Ms Van Dyk noted that Dr Socikwa has a tendency of giving excuses which makes it seems like she did not have the ability to hold her ground. For example, on the issue of Minister Blade Nzimande’s son being appointed without following proper procedure, she said she was not the one who made the appointment. Secondly, on the issue of the implementation of the Must Carry Policy, she said that she was on leave when it was carried out. Ms Van Dyk asserted that they need people of strong integrity who have a strong backbone at the SABC. She then asked if the candidate qualifies in that regard.

Ms van Dyk asked the candidate when they can expect the outcome of the internal UNISA investigation made against her.

Dr Ndlozi asked what kind of relationship she has with Mr Blade Nzimande.

Mr Xaba asked her to say one good thing that has been done by the SABC.

The Chairperson asked the candidate if she felt the panel did justice in covering all the questions and matters that were of relevance to his application and if there was any additional information she would have liked to share during the interview but did not have a chance to do so.

Refer to the audio for answers

Candidate 8: Mr Itani Tseisi

The Chairperson asked the candidate to briefly share, with the panel, the relevant educational qualifications and work experience she would bring to the SABC, should he be appointed.

Ms Van Damme noted that the candidate that he worked at the SABC at the time when there was a lot of corruption. He asked him what he had done to speak up against this.

Mr Xaba noted that had worked in the finance department at the SABC and asked if he had ever talked about the culture of payment when it came to licenses. If so, what proposals were made to try and solve that?

Mr Xaba asked him if he had contributed to the SABC bankruptcy since he was from the finance department.

Mr Tseli asked him if he wanted to go back to SABC to settle old scores since he was once suspended for two years by the same employer.

Mr Tseli stated that the SABC Board is accountable to the shareholder in terms of the performance and the affairs of the SABC. He asked Mr Tseisi why there would always be tensions when the shareholder representative tried to intervene on issues plaguing the SABC.

Mr Tseli asked how the candidate would assist in dealing with unfunded public mandates, including how the SABC struggles with obtaining state funding.

Mr Tseli asked Ms Mokhobo if he agreed with a proposal to review the role of Executive Directors within the SABC board.

Dr Ndlozi noted that Mr Tseisi was a former staffer at the SABC and now he wants to be a board member. During the time when he worked at SABC, he had fought a lot with people. He asked him if he is not going back there to settle old scores with the people he had previously worked with who are still at the SABC.

Dr Ndlozi noted that many people of high stature do not last on the board. He asked him why this is the case and why he thinks he will last.

Ms Van Dyk asked the candidate what his response is to the people who supported Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

Ms Matshoba asked him where he is currently working.

Ms Matshoba asked him what can be done in the future to ensure that the SABC’s financial crisis is resolved.

Mr Kakalo asked him who the CEO, COO, and CFO were during his time at the SABC.

Mr Kalako asked him if he has any business or previously had business with the SABC.

The Chairperson asked the candidate if he felt the panel did justice in covering all the questions and matters that were of relevance to his application and if there was any additional information he would have liked to share during the interview but did not have a chance to do so.

Refer to the audio for answers

The meeting was adjourned.

 

 

Documents

No related documents

Download as PDF

You can download this page as a PDF using your browser's print functionality. Click on the "Print" button below and select the "PDF" option under destinations/printers.

See detailed instructions for your browser here.

Share this page: