Hon colleagues, many times during the lifespan of this Parliament you have endorsed the names of many ANC cronies to serve on SABC boards and the public broadcaster, which has been in crisis for eight years, is none the better for it. This House, because it is ANC majority and values personal royalties over appropriate skills and experience, is complicit in perpetual chaos in the management of the SABC's operations.
The SABC board, is no longer a sought after position. This was evident from the list of people who applied for the current vacancy. While some of these people are no doubt worthy citizens, few had the relevant experience or showed a passion, vision or independence of mind, which is critical at this juncture. This is not to say that Ms Leah Khumalo will be ineffective on the board, she just was in the DA's view not the best choice, and we do not support her nomination. She becomes just another member of mediocre board. Last September, this House recommended to the President the names of the current board. They were forced on this House by Luthuli House.
The ANC members of the communications committee refused to motivate the names on their list, which differed from the one that we had been negotiating in the days before the decision had to be made. Since then, the board has been thin on presence where it counts, much of this may be due to the weak leadership of President Zuma's choice for the nonexecutive chairperson of this multibillion Rand corporation.
Under Ms Ellen Tshabalala's leadership, the SABC's financially suspect and ethically dubious deal with MultiChoice for the flighting of two 24-hour channels was hurried through the interim board - much to MultiChoice's advantage. On taking office, the new board was offered an opportunity by Minister Carrim to review this decision. They declined to interrogate it. Since then, the chairperson who is a spokesperson for the board has automatically left to the defence of the SABC management when the skills audit and Public Protector's reports showed endemic corruption and incompetence among the top management. She publicly showed no willingness to consider the criticism that is so blindly obvious to the rest of the nation. The Public Protector bewailed this attitude and had a collegial chat with her to explain the responsibilities and power limits of her post. Ms Tshabalala seemed to be grateful for this lesson.
This illustrates what is at the heart of the ANC's deployment of cronies to government boards. It sees them as training grounds for pals needing experience in the business environment. This gives them a leg-up to more lucrative jobs in the private sector and a chance to get on to the ANC's business network.
Until the ANC approaches these board appointments with an open mind and have an eye on inappropriate experience and quality of leadership, the SABC board and others will continue to fail and we will share the blame. [Applause.]