A sub-committee of Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Communications has begun an interview process with 37 candidates shortlisted for new SABC Board members. That’s because the current council’s term ends on October 15.

37 candidates are included in the shortlist of 120 nominees, from which a 12-member council will be formed.

First, three current board members were interviewed. They discussed the broadcaster’s finances, last year’s downsizing process and the sacking of former head of news and current affairs, Phatiswa Magopeni.

Deputy chairman Mamudupi Mohlala-Mulaudi was asked about the Real Estate Regulatory Authority’s forensic report, which had damning findings against her, as well as allegations that she worked part-time for a telecommunications company while working for ICASA. Here’s how she responded.

“These allegations are very inappropriate, we will write to the HRC and the Gender Commission, as a black female leader is treated differently. Even people on this board have findings against them and it was never published. In my case, it’s worse because I wasn’t given a chance to answer,” defends Mohlala-Mulaudi.

Another current board member, David Maimela, defended cutting more than 600 staff last year, while almost 400 positions are now being advertised.

“Still, I believe that it was a rational decision. A lot of people misunderstand this, but you can downsize and advertise again because the new work model requires new skills, no big deal. It helps you be more agile, more capable, better understand the industry and better compete,” Maimela says.

But according to Jack Falane, it takes more time to assess the success of the downsizing process.

“Our costs are high, the biggest cost was salaries, after cuts… the key to saying we have a structure that we think is good. For me, based on moving to the next gear, whether it works or not… now is the time to implement… it doesn’t make sense to let go of experienced people and then replace them with people who don’t know what they’re doing. We’ve got people doing what they’re supposed to do,” Fallon says.

Once the interview process is complete, the names of the successful candidates will be tabled in Parliament and then forwarded to the President for appointment.

VIDEO: Interviews with SABC board candidates

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