SABC board won’t be drawn on media allegations over tension between board and executives


JOHANNESBURG, September 1 – The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) board has refused to be drawn on allegations of discontent between the board and SABC top executives.

The Sunday Times newspaper reported that “SABC top brass threaten to quit over board meddling”.

“The SABC board has reaffirmed its utmost support and respect for the SABC’s executive directors who have done a sterling job thus far in very difficult circumstances. The board will not be drawn into discussing internal board matters and alleged differences between board members,” board chairperson Bongumusa Makhatini said in a statement later on Sunday.

The board comprised of persons chosen through a public process who had a range of skills and experience and who would continue to be critically engaged in their duties and responsibilities. It was well-known that the SABC faced huge historic problems, which the board was committed to turning around. This was reported in Parliament last Wednesday.

“The SABC board denies that there is disagreement among board directors about meeting the preconditions set by government for providing the R3.2 billion bailout. At a meeting of the SABC board on 30 August 2019, it was unanimously agreed to write to the minister of finance and the minister of communications and digital technologies, respectfully disagreeing with the view that the SABC had not met the Treasury preconditions for funding,” Makhatini said.

“In the letter to the ministers, the board expressed its concern with the contents of a letter from the two ministers received on 27 August 2019 and believes that the ministers have not been fully briefed on the information provided by the SABC thus far. It is the SABC board’s understanding that the public broadcaster has either complied or substantially complied with each precondition, as demonstrated by the substantive documentation supplied over a period of eight months. In the letter to the ministers, the board attached detail on the SABC’s compliance with each condition and has asked for an urgent engagement to discuss the matter.”

The board had informed the ministers that as a result of the current status of the SABC’s funding request, the board was left with no option but to implement the requirements of the Companies Act, taking into account the severe implications on the directors’ liabilities.

The board had assured the ministers of its commitment to serving the corporation in the public interest. To this end, the board would continue to work with the department of communications and digital technologies and the National Treasury, Makhathini said.

– African News Agency (ANA)