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MPs question selection of Phatiswa Magopeni to SABC board

SABC board appointments have been delayed as parliament members clash on names that have been included.

According to reports the sub-committee met on Tuesday to discuss on whether the former head of SABC News Phatiswa Magopeni should be appointed.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has also questioned the addition of three extra names that were provided to the expected 12.

ANC MP Lesiba Molala said the selection committee should reconsider the 12 names after former communications Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni wrote a letter to the speaker of the National Assembly Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula questioning the suitability of Magopeni’s election to the board.

“My understanding is the King IV report is not the law but it is principles of governance, good governance for that matter. From where I am sitting, you can’t ignore those principles,” said Molala.

“We are going to send 12 names to the president, but a question arises: can we still send the same 12 names despite the King IV report on good governance?”

In the letter Ntshaveni said: “We would like to find out whether consideration of other good governance prescripts like the King report on corporate governance (King IV) was taken into account to determine her (Magopeni) suitability for appointment.”

Magopeni was fired by the SABC in January 2022, citing a breakdown of trust. She was found guilty in an internal hearing for misconduct after failing to prevent the broadcast of an interdicted episode of the investigative news programme Special Assignment.

The South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) said it is seriously troubled by the endless delays in the appointment of the new SABC board.

“The public broadcaster has been without a board of directors for five months and this poses a threat to the public broadcaster’s operations, among other essential obligations that require the board’s approval and governance processes,” it said in a statement.

"Sanef also notes reports that the former communications and digital technologies minister,Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, had contributed to these delays after she questioned the inclusion of the broadcasters former head of news, Phathiswa Magopeni, in the list of candidates recommended by Parliament. Parliament had thoroughly interrogated her recommendation to serve on the board and concluded that she was an appropriate candidate."

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