SABC Board interviews day 3; Films & Publications Amendment Bill: finalisation

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Communications

07 March 2019
Chairperson: Prof H Mkhize (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

VIDEO: SABC Board interviews, 07 March 2019

The Committee had two matters to address. The first item was the adoption of the report on the proposed Amendments to the Film and Publications Amendment Bill [B37B-2015]. The report incorporated the Amendments proposed by the National Council of Provinces towards the end of 2019. The report on the Amendments was adopted by the Committee, although the adoption was opposed by the DA.

The Committee undertook interviews of the final eight shortlisted candidates for positions on the SABC board. There was some dissatisfaction about the amount of time that certain Members took in asking questions of certain candidates. Members were also concerned with in-depth questioning of some candidates on matters that were far removed from the job that would have to be undertaken.

Having completed all the interviews, the Members were given one week to deliberate with their respective parties on the various candidates interviewed. The Committee would reconvene within one week’s time for deliberations on the names to be forwarded to the National Assembly.

Meeting report

Opening remarks
The Chairperson stated that there were two items on the agenda: the adoption of the report on the Films and Publications Amendment Bill [B37D-2015] and the interviews of the shortlisted candidates for the SABC Board.

Films and Publications Amendment Bill: finalisation
The Chairperson welcomed the Members of the Committee. She invited Ms Phumelele  Ngema from the Legal Department of Parliament to read out the report on the Films and Publications Amendment Bill [B 37B-2015].

Ms Ngema informed the Committee that the report incorporated the proposed amendments of the National Council of Provinces (Announcements, Tablings and Committee Reports, 22 November 2018 with amendments to [B 37C-2015]. Ms Ngema read out the clauses with the amendments.

The Members adopted each of the proposed amendments.

Ms V van Dyk (DA) informed the Committee that the Democratic Alliance objected to the amendments in the report as the DA had not participated in the NCOP process.

The following amendments were accepted:

Clause 6 - the Enforcement Committee will include ‘Chairperson’ and such chairperson ‘must be a retired judge of the High Court of South Africa.’
Removal of subsection 3 in Clause 6.

Clause 12 was rejected.
New clause:
Amendment of section 13 of Act 65 of 1996, as amended by section 15 of Act 3 of 2009 was added as a new clause.
Section 13 of the principal Act (Act 65 of 1996) was amended by substitution of subsection 1 which read as follows – 1) The expenditure in connection with the performance of the functions, the exercise of the powers and the carrying out of the duties of the Board, Council, Appeal Tribunal, Enforcement Committee and an advisory panel shall be defrayed from money appropriated by Parliament for [the] that purpose by the insertion of subsection 1A to read as follows - ‘‘(1A) All monies lawfully acquired by the Board in the performance of its functions must be utilised to achieve the objects of this Act.’’

Clause 15 amended subsection 4B of the principal Act; to omit subparagraphs (i) and (ii) to substitute with the following subparagraphs (i) explicit sexual conduct which violates or shows disrespect for the right to human dignity of any person; and (ii) bestiality, incest, rape or conduct or an act which is degrading of human beings.

Clause 17 amended subsection 3B of the principal Act to omit subparagraphs (i) and (ii) and to substitute the following subparagraphs; ‘‘(i) explicit sexual conduct which violates or shows disrespect for the right to human dignity of any person; and (ii) bestiality, incest, rape, conduct or an act which is degrading of human beings.

Clause 19 the period of requesting reclassification was changed from ‘two years’ to ‘one year’.

Clause 34 the commencement of the Bill was changed from 2015 to 2019.

After the Committee Members had adopted each of the amended clauses, the Secretary of the Committee read out the report and the Chairperson asked the Members to confirm that they supported the adoption of the report.
Ms M Matshoba (ANC), Mr R Tseli (ANC), Mr N Xaba (ANC) and Dr M Ndlozi (EFF) confirmed that they supported the adoption the report.

Interviews for the shortlisted candidates to the SABC board

Candidate one: Mr Rowan Nicholls

The Chairperson asked the candidate to briefly explain his qualifications and academic background.

Ms Van Dyk asked the candidate to clarify page 3 of his Curriculum Vitae where it stated risk Committee Chairperson terminated. She also asked the candidate to state the innovation plans he had to turn around SABC.

Mr Xaba asked the candidate how he would sort out a bankruptcy problem at SABC. He also asked how he would ensure the poor black people paid licenses and that positive stories about South Africa would be conveyed to the citizens.

Mr Tseli asked the candidate to clarify whether he was a member of the audit committee of the municipality and also a member of ICASA. He also asked the candidate to state what would be the role of SABC with regard to the general elections on 8 May 2019.

Ms P Van Damme (DA) asked the candidate to state what his first priority would be in dealing with the financial situation at SABC. She also asked the candidate whether he had the zeal and energy considering his age to solve the financial crisis at SABC.

Dr Ndlozi asked the candidate to confirm that he had been born in 1948, the year apartheid began. He also asked the candidate whether he had worked in government during apartheid and what contribution he had made towards justice during apartheid. He was asked why he had stayed out of politics for 71 years and whether it was fair for South Africans to put him in the SABC when it was now ‘nice’. He remarked that the SABC board should be filled with formidable Members who had been in the struggle. Dr Ndlozi finally asked the candidate what his favourite programme on the SABC was and, given his age, why he did not want to retire.

The Chairperson thanked the candidate for attending the interview and asked him whether he had any further information to give or anything to clarify.

Candidate two: Advocate Nakedi Ribane
The Chairperson asked the candidate to introduce herself and to give her academic and professional qualifications.

Mr Xaba asked the candidate what she thought were the editorial problems in SABC. He asked what role she would play in community development considering her experience in it and, lastly, what contribution she would make in the broadcasting policy considering the 90:10 ratio.

Mr M Kalako (ANC) asked the candidate whether she was still active in the Union. He asked the candidate what innovative or new ideas would she bring to the SABC if she were successful, considering that the board Members hardly last in the position. He also asked the candidate how she would deal with freelancing as opposed to having the staff with the relevant skills in the Corporation. He finally asked the candidate how she would deal with the issue of production of shows outside the studio as opposed to within the studios of SABC, her view on the fourth industrial revolution and how SABC should attract young audiences.

Dr Ndlozi asked the candidate how she would improve the plight of actors to ensure their contracts led to a gain in revenue considering that the shows were on-going and yet payment was one-off. He made reference to the candidate’s book ‘Beauty: A Black Perceptive’ and asked the candidate what would she would do to address and advocate for the plight of young black women who are exploited in the industry. He finally asked the candidate how she would deal with political influence in the SABC Board.

The Chairperson asked the candidate to respond to Mr Ndlozi’s question on how she would deal with the sexual exploitation of women in the industry.

Ms Van Damme asked the candidate to give her view on the Broadcasting Amendment Bill. She asked her to give her view on the Amendment which provided for Parliament’s role in the appointment of the board members. Could the candidate to explain how the Broadcasting Act should be improved? Ms Van Damme asked the candidate to define the role of the shareholder in the board. She finally asked her to list the legislation that each board member at the SABC should know in detail.

Mr Tseli asked the candidate to clarify the issue about the unions in the broadcasting corporation and the role that tertiary institutions should play in dealing with SABC.

The Chairperson asked the candidate whether there was anything further she wanted to add or clarify.

Candidate three: Prof Saths Cooper
The Chairperson welcomed the candidate and asked him to introduce himself and give his academic and professional qualifications.

Mr Tseli noted that the candidate’s CV showed that he did not have a background in ICT or in the communications sector. He asked the candidate to state what caused the tension between the shareholder and the board. What was the role of the executive directors in the board? What was the role of community radio and tertiary institutions in executing the role of SABC?

Ms Van Damme asked the candidate to shed light on the controversy of the tender that had been unfairly awarded, and without following due process, while he was a Director of Zoo Lake Bowling Club. She referred to his tenure as the Vice Chancellor at the University of Durban Westville where he had been investigated for 11 issues of governance. She stated that the report painted the candidate as manipulative. She asked the candidate whether the report had been challenged on review or judicial review and what his stance was on the report.

Mr Xaba noted that the candidate’s CV had several presentations and research which related to policy making. He asked him what his view was in regard to the 90:10 or 70:30 local content ratio. How could the SABC improve community development? How would he assist in the digital migration and in dealing with the fourth industrial revolution? Mr Xaba finally asked the candidate how he would ensure that the SABC would broadcast the country’s legacy to educate the nation.

Ms van Dyk asked the candidate to clarify why it was important for him to say that he had been involved in the apartheid struggle in his introduction. She asked him to comment on the media report which stated that he had used his anti-apartheid campaigns to land a job at the University. She also asked him to explain how he had landed the job at the Board of Health Psychologists Regulators as there had been an uproar over his appointment. Would he allow political interference in the SABC? Finally, she asked the candidate whether he had any contracts with any government department or entity.

The Chairperson followed up on Ms van Dyk’s question on the role of social transformation and how the SABC could assist in improving the social transformation.

Dr Ndlozi referred to the candidate’s involvement in the University of Durban-Westville. He asked the candidate to explain the media articles that stated that the processes of appointment of the Director of Student Affairs following Professor Pitika Ntuli’s resignation were not duly followed. He asked the candidate to comment on Prof Ntuli’s allegation that the candidate treated him like a token black and that the black academics had experienced him as dictatorial and that he had bad managerial skills.

Dr Ndlozi asked the candidate to explain his appointment to the Board of Professional Psychologists despite the fact that he had come 41st in the voting process which had undermined the democratic process. He asked the candidate why he had publicly dismissed Mr Lekota’s utterances in Parliament about President Ramaphosa.

Mr Tseli asked the Chairperson to ensure that the questions put to candidates were relevant to the job for which they were interviewing. That elicited heated discussion amongst Members of the Committee. The Chairperson asked Members to be robust and to leave no stone unturned, but the focus had to be on the job for which they were interviewing.

Ms Matshoba commented that the candidate had an impressive CV and asked the him to comment on how he would personally fix the crisis at SABC so that it could reclaim its dignity. She asked the candidate how he would utilise his experience in psychology to fix the SABC.

Mr Kalako asked the candidate whether he was a team player given the diversity of the SABC board.

The Chairperson asked the candidate if there was anything further he wanted to add or clarify.

Candidate four: Ms Mary Papayya.
The Chairperson welcomed the candidate and asked her to introduce herself and give her academic and professional qualifications.

Ms Van Damme commended the candidate on her CV but noted that one of her referees was Dr Zweli Mkhize. The Committee was specifically concerned about political interference in the SABC, so could the candidate explain why she had chosen to give Dr Mkhize as a referee? Could she also comment on why Dr Baloyi was the person who had nominated her? Was there a message in naming those persons?

Mr Tseli asked the candidate to explain how Parliament had found itself in the situation where it was again interviewing for the position of SABC Board members. He also asked what role she would play in reviving the SABC. He further asked the candidate whether community radio stations were getting the necessary support from Government and other stakeholders. He finally asked what role the tertiary institutions could play in educating communities.

Mr Xaba asked the candidate what the SABC could do to assist in service delivery. What influence would she bring to SABC to achieve community development? He asked the candidate to explain how she would sort out the bankruptcy problem at SABC and how she would ensure the poor black people paid licenses. How would she ensure that the digital migration was speeded up?.

Ms Matshoba asked the candidate what programmes she would create to accommodate other young professional women. How would she ensure that the SABC partnered with poor young women to improve their lifestyle? She asked the candidate for her view on whether the programmes on the SABC stations were assisting the children in terms of reduction of crime and whether there were any programmes which should not be aired.

Dr Ndlozi asked the candidate whether she had any experience as a board member. He asked her to clarify on the allegation that SANEF, the South African National Editors’ Forum was toothless in terms of ensuring the accountability of journalists. He asked the candidate what she thought the problem was that the boards at SABC did not last and whether she would persevere if she were appointed to the Board.

Mr Xaba asked how her experience in her CV would ensure service delivery in the SABC.

Mr Tseli asked the candidate to suggest what the role of SABC should be with regard to the elections of 8 May 2019.

The Chairperson asked the candidate if there was anything further she wanted to add or clarify.

Candidate five: Ms Bernedette Muthien.
The Chairperson welcomed the candidate and asked her to introduce herself and give her academic and professional qualifications.

Ms Van Damme asked the candidate why she had applied to be a board member at the SABC and what skills she would bring on board.

Mr Xaba asked the candidate what the Companies Act and Broadcasting Act provided on democracy. He also asked the candidate how she would ensure SABC ensured it told the story of South Africa and how she would ensure the poor black people pay their licenses.

Mr Tseli asked the candidate whether the SABC Foundation was doing enough to execute its mandate and if not why.

Dr Ndlozi asked the candidate what creative ideas she would bring on board to ensure the young women were not exploited on set. He further asked the candidate what problems and unique solutions she would bring to SABC.

Mr Tseli asked the candidate what else she did other than her last job whose mandate had just ended.

Mr Kalako asked the candidate whether she thought she was the right candidate for SABC regarding the demanding and tough role of being in the SABC board.

The Chairperson asked the candidate if there was anything further she wanted to add or clarify.

Candidate Six: Ms Nokuzola Ehrens
The Chairperson welcomed the candidate and asked her to introduce herself and give her academic and professional qualifications.

Mr Tseli asked the candidate how her experience with the commercial radios would assist SABC radio stations to do well. He asked her to explain the mandate of the SABC Foundation and say whether the foundation was doing enough. He asked the candidate for her view on the unfunded public mandate and how she would deal with that problem. She was asked how she would deal with a situation where sponsors wanted to capture SABC.

Ms Van Damme asked the candidate what new ideas she would bring to increase the SABC cash flow and advertising if she were appointed to the board. She asked the candidate for one idea on how the SABC could compete with other media avenues, such as Netflix.

The Chairperson asked the candidate how she thought that the fourth industrial revolution could assist in ensuring the inclusion of vulnerable communities.

Mr Xaba asked the candidate whether there was anything wrong with the funding model at SABC. He also asked her how she would fight corruption in the SABC. What were the editorial challenges at the SABC and should the SABC board be involved in the editorial challenges and the management of the SABC?

Dr Ndlozi asked the candidate about her experience at Ericsson Company. He also asked what she thought the problem was with the SABC board and why there was such a high turnover. He asked the candidate what her role had been at the State Information Technology Agency (SITA).

The Chairperson asked the candidate whether she was still a board member at SITA.

Mr Kalako asked the candidate whether she was the best candidate to join the SABC board.

Ms Van Damme asked the candidate whether she had what it took to withstand the challenges at SABC and how she would deal with the crises.

The Chairperson asked the candidate how she would reposition the SABC in terms of the rural areas. She asked the candidate if there was anything further she wanted to add or clarify.

Candidate seven: Mr Mfanolezwe Shozi
The Chairperson welcomed the candidate and asked him to introduce himself and give his academic and professional qualifications.

Mr Tseli asked the candidate whether the community radios were getting enough attention and support from the government. What was the role of the executive directors in the board and how he would deal with conflict between the shareholders and the board?

Mr Xaba asked the candidate, if he were appointed, what advice would he give SABC in telling the story of the legacy of South Africa. He also asked the candidate to comment on the issue of sexual harassment of women.

The Chairperson asked the candidate how he would deal with organized women groups.

Ms Van Dyk asked the candidate why he wanted to join the SABC, what special skill he would bring to the board and to mention one innovative idea he would bring to the board. She finally asked him to state how he would deal with sexual harassment as a board member at SABC.

Dr Ndlozi asked the candidate which technological developments SABC should adopt to function better and to maximize audience and revenue. He also asked the candidate to state some of the examples of sexual harassment in the media industry. What was the current gender composition of the board?

The Chairperson asked the candidate if there was anything further she wanted to add or clarify.

Candidate eight: Ms Mmabatho Ramagoshi.
The Chairperson welcomed the candidate and asked her to introduce herself and give her academic and professional qualifications.

Mr Xaba asked why she had previously left employment at SABC. He also asked the candidate to state how she would ensure local content was widely broadcast.

Mr Tseli asked the candidate to clarify why she had previously left her employment at SABC, how best she would deal with the unfunded public mandate and what the role of executive directors in a board.

Ms Van Damme asked the candidate to clarify whether she had accepted a lump sum and a golden handshake when she had left the SABC. She asked the candidate to explain her role during her tenure at SABC between 2007-2012 and what she did when she encountered negative issues at SABC.

Mr Ndlozi asked the candidate what her role was as the CEO of South Africa Resource Agency (SARA). He asked her what impact SARA had made on Winnie Mandela’s house and apartheid statues. What processes had she put in place to prevent sexual harassment while serving at the National Film and Video Foundation?

The Chairperson asked the candidate to explain her role during her tenure at the Department of Women.

Mr Kalako asked the candidate to elaborate what financial model she had used at the regional level in Auckland Park that she would apply to the SABC to avoid the need for government to support the broadcaster. He also asked whether the SABC structure was centralized and why she thought it always ran into problems. He asked whether she had raised the issue about Annual Performance Plans being changed in the Department of Women.

Ms Matshoba asked how the candidate would ensure that SABC wrote the legacy of South Africa.

Ms Van Dyk asked the candidate why she left the Department of Women and what positive impact she made at the Department.

The Chairperson asked the candidate if there was anything further she wanted to add or clarify.

After the interviews had been completed, Members requested time to deliberate with their respective parties on the various candidates interviewed. It was decided to reconvene within one week’s time for deliberations on the names of the candidates to be forwarded to the National Assembly.

The meeting was adjourned.
 

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