New SABC chairman Obert Maghuve was elevated to the position as reward by President Jacob Zuma for his loyalty to communications minister Faith Muthambi and chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng, the Democratic Alliance said on Friday.
It was announced earlier on Friday that Maghuve had been appointed as the new chairman of the board, with Leah Khumalo to serve as his deputy.
DA MP Gavin Davis said the decision to appoint Maghuve “has hastened the decline of the SABC’s independence”.
“Maghuve is a known acolyte of Muthambi and Motsoeneng,” Davis said. “It was Maghuve, along with Khumalo, who voted in favour of Motsoeneng’s appointment as chief operating officer in July last year. This was in direct contravention of the public protector’s directive that Motsoeneng be suspended and disciplined for lying about his matric certificate and other acts of fraud and corruption.
“Maghuve proved his political usefulness further this year when, as acting chair of the SABC board, he illegally removed Hope Zinde, Rachel Kalidass and Ronnie Lubisi from the board. At the time, when questioned on Zinde’s removal in parliament, Maghuve said: ‘She’s removed. Once we remove… she’s removed.’
“It has since been confirmed by parliament’s legal advisors that Maghuve’s decision to remove these board members was unlawful. It is not clear whether the president applied his mind to this aspect of Maghuve’s track record when he made the decision to appoint him,” Davis said.
He said that as Muthambi and Motsoeneng are concerned, Maghuve has “shown himself to be a pliant and loyal acting chair”.
“He is now being rewarded for getting rid of excellent and independently minded board members, and protecting Motsoeneng when he should have been fired. Maghuve’s appointment is bad news for all South Africans who want the SABC to be the independent public broadcaster envisaged in our constitution.” — © 2015 NewsCentral Media