South African opposition parties – the Democratic Alliance (DA), Congress of the People (COPE) and the Independent Democrats (ID) – have issued a statement accusing the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party of politicising the selection of the new board for beleaguered public broadcaster SABC.
The statement reads:
“An opportunity to unite across party political lines in the selection of a new SABC Board was derailed this afternoon when the ANC reneged on an undertaking to make the board appointment process more inclusive than the previous, highly contentious one.
“Whereas the opposition requested inclusivity and the assurance that the opposition members of the committee would not merely be used to legitimize their selection process, it is now clear that the ANC all along intended to use Parliament as a rubber stamp for its pre-selected board.
“Following the interview process the DA, Cope and the ID together selected a total of 12 names, seven of which coincidentally corresponded with those put forward by the ANC. These were believed to be candidates who had shown that they had the requisite skills and integrity to turn the SABC around.
“The opposition parties attempted for two days to engage with the ANC to seek consensus on the remaining five names.
“However, the ANC members of the Portfolio Committee on Communication today tabled the very same list they had offered right at the start of the process.
“They refused to consider any of the five names put forward by the opposition.
“The reason advanced by the ANC why they could not consider substitutes for the five names, was that these candidates were nominated by the SACP, ANC Youth League and Cosatu! This adds insult to injury as this Board will in effect then represent the ANC and its alliance partners and not the broad South African public.
“With the help of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), the ANC has managed to push through a Board that is loaded with ANC Alliance nominees. It is now increasingly clear that a faction within the IFP has thrown its lot in with ANC.”