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    Resign, SABC board chair told

    Barely six months after it was appointed, the new SABC board is once again embroiled in another controversy, this time involving its chairperson, former cabinet minister Dr Ben Ngubane. SOS Support Public Broadcasting has called on Ngubane to do the honourable thing - to resign as soon as possible for bringing breaching corporate governance principles.
    Resign, SABC board chair told

    "If he is not prepared to resign, we will call on Parliament to hold an urgent public hearing into the matter. SOS believes that a very swift action is needed in this regard," Kate Skinner, SOS coordinator told the media today, Friday, 28 May 2010.

    The press conference took place at the IAJ headquarters in Parktown, Johannesburg.

    Centre of the controversy

    At the centre of the controversy lies the permanent appointment of Phil Molefe as SABC head of news, a post he has been occupying since last year after the contract of another controversial figure, Dr Snuki Zikalala, was not renewed. The group believes that proper procedures were not followed regard the appointment.

    Critics accuse the board chairperson of taking a 'dictatorial' decision to appoint Molefe, without following proper procedures. After the criticism mounted, Ngubane released a statement, saying that he made a decision as a leader to instruct the CEO Solly Mokoetle to finalise Molefe's appointment as head of news because he satisfied all the necessary requirements.

    The public broadcaster's corporate governance issues that rocked the nation in past, and dimmed the image of the Auckland Park-based organisation, have once again resurfaced, and are now on the verge of exploding like an improvised explosive device.

    No choice

    The Institute of Freedom Expression (FXI) said the coalition will have no choice but to embark on a campaign to force him to leave if he does not go voluntarily.

    Independent producer and director Rehad Desai, of the South African Screen Federation (SASFED) said: "These problems of governance have occurred in the past, and it is a pity that they are now coming back. This board needs a [long-term] vision to plan for the future, not a day-to-day vision, which is wrong for an organisation of such magnitude."

    The SABC, which independent analysts accuse of being the state's propaganda machine, has known no respite in the past five years or so. When the new board was appointed some six months ago, there was a bit of hope that things will get back to normal and the public broadcaster would start delivering on its mandate without any hindrance.

    Skinner told "The institution has been taken backwards by Dr Ngubane's behaviour. The Auditor-General report vigorously stated that in order for the SABC to move forward, they have to follow strict good corporate principles."

    "There will be no trust"

    William Bird, head of Media Monitoring Africa, said: "If he does not step down, the SABC won't move forward as there will be no trust in him for what he has done."

    Cosatu spokesperson Patrick Craven said: "Problems such these have been born because the SABC was in the past run by political factions whereby the issue of news coverage was crucial. The board itself has to sort it out as soon as possible and restore confidence of the organisation, the morale of the staff and that of the nation."

    Several attempts to get Dr Ngubane to comment were unsuccessful by the time of going to press.

    About Issa Sikiti da Silva

    Issa Sikiti da Silva is a winner of the 2010 SADC Media Awards (print category). He freelances for various media outlets, local and foreign, and has travelled extensively across Africa. His work has been published both in French and English. He used to contribute to as a senior news writer.
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