The much-anticipated showdown between Parliament and members of the
dysfunctional SABC board turned out to be a damp squib when the
majority of board members decided to stay away, write Nkululeko Ncana and Dominic Mahlangu in The Times.

Parliament’s communications portfolio committee had summoned all 12 board members, including the eight that have resigned since March, to a hearing in which they were to be grilled about the public broadcaster’s current cash-flow problems as well as its numerous corporate governance issues.

But despite Parliament saying invitations to the meeting were sent out two weeks ago, only two SABC board members — Alison Gilwald and Fadila Lagadien — bothered to show up.

SABC executives, on the other hand, came out in full force for the meeting — hoping for an opportunity to explain their role in the ongoing financial crisis in which the public broadcaster finds itself.

Even former SABC chief executive Dali Mpofu, who was controversially axed by the board, attended the meeting.

Communications Minister Siphiwe Nyanda and ANC members of the portfolio committee had hoped that the meeting would set in motion the process of formally dissolving the board and replacing it with an interim body.

On Wednesday, one ANC MP told The Times that Parliament would dissolve the board by today.

But ANC parliamentary spokesman Moloto Mothapo said: “The inquiry went ahead and will continue on Tuesday.

The ANC argues that, in the light of the eight resignations, the SABC board is no longer functional because the four remaining members cannot form a quorum.

Mothapo said: “It was made clear that all 12 board members need to be present … It was not meant to be a one-day event, it is a process.”

Lagadien told the committee that most board members had failed to show up because the invitations were sent at short notice.

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