AS PARLIAMENT began short-listing candidates for a new SABC board,
fresh controversy erupted over the botched broadcast of the finale of
Survivor: China, write Dominic Mahlangu and Lauren Cohen in The Times.

On Monday night, the SABC omitted key parts of the finale and broadcast the announcement of the winner out of context, leading a sponsor to consider taking legal action against the corporation.

The new SABC board, the installation of which is intended to end years of corporate decline, began to take shape in Parliament yesterday as the ANC and opposition parties found common ground on some nominees. Parliament’s portfolio committee on communications reduced the list of candidates from 237 to 53.

Emerging as frontrunners are respected academic Mamphela Ramphele, veteran journalist Pippa Green, former SABC board member Desmond Golding and former politician Frederik van Zyl Slabbert.

But, as Parliament sought to end years of controversy, a viewers’ rebellion over the Survivor debacle began to take shape.

Key programme sponsor Two Oceans Wine, under mounting pressure from unhappy fans of the hit reality series — one of the most popular on SABC — said it was taking legal advice with regard to its rights to reimbursement after Monday ’s blunder.

The Survivor debacle is the latest in a long series of controversies that have dogged the SABC, causing it to lose credibility .

MPs said yesterday that it was with this in mind that they were trying to select a board to turn the broadcaster around.

‘‘We have to find one another,” said ID leader Patricia de Lille after yesterday’s meeting of the portfolio committee. “If we want the SABC to change and represent the interests of all South Africans, we have no choice but to work together.”

She said the horse trading between the parties over nominations to the board had been in a “good spirit”.

The names of Ramphele, Green, Golding and Van Zyl Slabbert appeared on short lists submitted by the ANC, the DA, the ID and other parties.

Former South African ambassador to the US Barbara Masekela also has a strong chance, though her name is not on most of the opposition’s lists. The ANC is said to be keen on her appointment.

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