Minister speaks on SABC COO appointment

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Communications Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane says she has not been consulted about the appointment of a new Chief Operating Officer for the SABC because not all recruitment processes have been concluded.

Briefing the Portfolio Committee on Communications on Tuesday, the Minister also said as a shareholder representative, she needs to be consulted on the processes of appointing senior executives in order to brief Cabinet - not for approval but for information.

This comes after the Minister indicated earlier this month that she had not been consulted on the appointment of senior executives at SABC following media reports that culminated from MTN Corporate Affairs Manager Chris Maroleng accepting congratulatory messages on social media.

“… I will have to take it to Cabinet … because Cabinet represents the shareholder in terms of government. I have to take it to Cabinet … not for Cabinet to appoint, for information and consultation at Cabinet. So that is the matter.”

She said she had no issues against any qualifying individual to be appointed, but that the process had to be followed to the letter.

“My responsibility is that of oversight because if tomorrow, it is to be found that for example the board has flouted the rules, because I am the shareholder representative and I have the responsibility of oversight over the board, I will be asked to answer,” she said.

The Minister said should recruitment rules and processes be flouted; she would be the one that will have to be called in to account.

“Both yourself [Members of Parliament] and Parliament will be calling me to answer – how did it happen under my watch.

“So that is the only thing, because the statement was issued under the context that as far as we are aware, having understood and agreed with the board in terms of what should happen, in terms of the consultation as well, in the background of that court order, we understood that the process has not been concluded and therefore, we can’t have a person already accepting congratulatory messages.

“It needs to be the board that announces that this has happened or it needs to be from a point of communicating, from a government point of view to say we also are aware of this appointment,” she said.

SABC Board chairperson Bongumusa Makhathini confirmed that the board was still finalising recruitment processes and that the Minister was consulted on some of the processes, but not all of them.

“The question around consultation – yes there was consultation and consultation was done in three forms. There were meetings between [myself] and the Minister and there was also a meeting between me and some of the board members. On top of that, we had letters where we were communicating with the Minister on every step of the way…”

He said that as the board, they did not sanction the media report of Maroleng being appointed.

“What we had done, for us to be able to finalise the process of the COO appointment, we had to subject the candidate to vetting and for you to do that, you have to extend a conditional offer so that the person can be comfortable to be subjected to the process.

“So we did so in a form of a letter to the Minister to say that we have extended a conditional appointment subject to vetting, which is a process that we are busy finalising and that is why the statement issued by the board is that the process is currently being finalised. That is what we meant.” –

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