The SABC Board is stumbling from one crisis to the next, blissfully oblivious, apparently, to the sword of Damocles hovering over its head, writes Business Day in an editorial.Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â It's been made very clear that the ANC in Parliament wants them out.Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â The President should insist on aÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â better process to replace them. Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â
The SABC board seems to have lost all touch with reality, not unlike the Bush administration, about which Barack ObamaÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s chief of staff Rahm Emanuel said: ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œIf they didnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t know that was the judgment of people, then their subscription to newspapers were cancelled over the last three years.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
The interventionist style at the broadcaster would have made even PW BothaÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s Broederbonders green with envy.
With Snuki Zikalala at the helm, news coverage at the SABC has plunged to unprecedented levels of blandness and bias. Technical ineptitude is also a problem.
On the corporate governance front, the broadcaster has stumbled from one crisis to another. Last Friday they finally fired their group CEO, Dali Mpofu, after three disputed suspensions. Mpofu is planning a challenge.
The SABC has also not escaped commercial controversy. The blow of losing the PSL broadcasting rights to MultiChoice is still fresh. Acting CEO Gab Mampone this week had to defend claims that the SABC had begged for a R500m bank overdraft to deal with its financial woes.
Maybe the board is not paranoid. While it is preoccupied with internal small-time politicking, it is all over the newspapers how the African National Congress (ANC) in Parliament is baying for their blood and is pressing President Kgalema Motlanthe to sign the Broadcasting Amendment Bill that would allow for the board to be dissolved.
While one is tempted to agree with the ANC MPs who want to see the back of what they regard as the last remnants of Thabo MbekiÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s political influence, this would only perpetuate the problem at the SABC since it would merely introduce new lackeys serving a different master. The broadcaster will now simply slavishly follow Jacob Zuma as he opens rural projects in Nkandla or gets married.
The solution lies in Motlanthe returning the bill to Parliament and insisting on a more transparent process of appointing the board ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Â preferably one similar to the way judges are appointed.