By Paul Vecchiatto
The governance crisis at the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) plumbed new depths on Monday morning (18/03/2013) when six out of the nine remaining directors tendered their resignations to President Jacob Zuma.
The presidency confirmed that President Zuma had received letters of resignation from Lumko Mtimde‚ John Danana‚ Cedric Gina‚ Desmond Golding‚ Cawe Mahlati and Noluthando Gosa.
"The president has accepted their resignations and thanked them for their contribution during their tenure as board members‚” presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said.
This means the SABC is now without a functioning governing body as the board has too few members to form a quorum to ratify decisions.
A week ago‚ SABC nonexecutive chairman Ben Ngubane and deputy chairman Thami ka Plaatjie handed in their resignations after they were unable to overturn a board resolution earlier this month to remove Hlaudi Motsoeneng as acting chief operating officer and return him to his permanent position as group executive head of provinces.
The board resolved to appoint Mike Saluma‚ a veteran journalist and head of radio news‚ as chief operating officer.
However‚ Ngubane and Ka Plaatjie wrote a letter saying Motsoeneng would continue as acting chief operating officer‚ but the rest of the board said they could not overturn a resolution on their own.
That led to Ngubane and Ka Plaatjie’s resignations just ahead of a scheduled meeting with Public Protector Thuli Madonsela early last week.
SABC board member Suzanne Vos said on Monday that should Parliament’s portfolio committee on communications not hold a meeting over the issue within the next two days‚ she would also have to resign.
She said on Monday: "I learned of the resignations of colleagues whom I greatly respect. I have requested an opportunity to speak to the portfolio committee on communications‚ which recommended my appointment to the president. It is the proper thing to do.
"If the committee is not able to meet‚ then I will also have to do the honourable thing and resign.”
Prior to the news of the latest resignations‚ parliamentary portfolio committee chairman Sikhumbuzo Kholwane advised members that Communications Minister Dina Pule and the SABC board would appear at an emergency meeting on Tuesday afternoon.
Democratic Alliance communications spokeswoman Marian Shinn said Kholwane had assured her a meeting would be held to discuss the future options for the public broadcaster.
Shinn said a legal option was the appointment of an interim board but it was an open question whether many people of political independence and repute‚ with relevant broadcasting and corporate governance experience‚ would make themselves available.
Mtimde‚ said he and the other five board members would reveal their reasons once Zuma had accepted their resignations.
"We are prepared to appear before Parliament as required by the Broadcasting Act to account for our actions‚” he said.
Mtimde denied that the African National Congress’s national executive committee had ordered them to resign at the weekend. © BDlive 2013