The search for the 12 board members of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) will begin on Tuesday morning.

A sub-committee of Parliament’s Committee on Communications is preparing to begin debating 37 candidates who recently interviewed for Council vacancies.

A report listing the names of the successful candidates is also expected to be adopted later on Tuesday before it is presented to the National Assembly for final approval later this week.

Some of the 37 candidates include former SABC staff and five outgoing Council members.

They were shortlisted from 120 nominations.

The outgoing council has just 18 days left in its five-year term.

The candidate debate comes as Communications and Digital Minister Khumbudzo Ntschauheni has reportedly threatened to declare the current Council in default for failing to steer the public broadcaster’s ship.

Among the 37 people interviewed who have held leadership positions in the Council or the Executive in the past five years are outgoing Council members Mamodupi Mohlala-Mulaudi, Sats Cooper, David Maimela, Jack Fallon and Dinkwanyane Mohuba, as well as former Chief Phatiswa Magopeni’s news and current affairs group.

Only after rigorous deliberations will the public know whether they have been recommended to return to the SABC.

Last week was the deadline for members of the public to provide comments on the CVs of the 37 shortlisted candidates.

The interview

Earlier this month, the shortlisted candidates discussed the broadcaster’s finances, last year’s downsizing process and Magopeni’s sacking.

The deputy chairman of the board, Mamadupi Mohlala-Mulaudi, was asked about the Real Estate Regulatory Authority’s forensic report, which found damning findings against her, as well as allegations that she worked part-time for a telecommunications company while working for the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa ( Ikasa).

She replied: “These accusations are very absurd. I will write to the HRC (Human Rights Commission) and the Gender Commission as a black woman who is treated differently. Even people from this Council have findings against them and it has never been made public. In my case, it’s worse because I wasn’t given a chance to answer.”

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

“I still think 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.

However, according to Jack Fahlein, more time is needed 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, now is the time of realization. It doesn’t make sense to release experienced people and then replace them with people who don’t know what they are doing. Are the people we have doing what they should be doing?” – asks Falan.

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: Portfolio Committee on Communications continues interviews with SABC board members 16 September 2022:

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