15/01/2018 14:18 SAST | Updated 15/01/2018 14:20 SAST

SABC Appointment Touches Minister On Her Studio

Government is denying knowledge of the appointment of Chris Maroleng - MTN executive and former anchor of "don't touch me on my studio" fame - as SABC COO.

Gallo Images / Beeld / Nasief Manie
ANC MP Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane during a debate about the Nkandla report in the National Assembly on August 18, 2015 in Cape Town, South Africa.

While former broadcaster and MTN executive Chris Maroleng has been warmly welcomed as the new chief operating officer (COO) of the SABC, government's denied knowledge of his new top job.

The Minister of Communications Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane says nobody told her about Maroleng's new job and that all top SABC jobs must be announced by the Cabinet.

In a terse statement, Kubayi-Ngubane that the three top jobs at the SABC had to be government appointments. These are the chief executive officer (CEO), the chief financial officer (CFO) and chief operating officer (COO).

But broadcast lawyer Justine Limpitlaw says the minister is wrong.

The courts have affirmed the right of the SABC board to make all appointments of staff to safeguard the public broadcasting character of the organisation, says the lawyer.

The public broadcasting coalition, SOS, and Media Monitoring Africa brought the case to safeguard the SABC's independence from political interference and secured a judgment to protect the broadcaster's independence.

High Court Judgment: SABC Board / Powers Of The Communications Minister | 17 October 2017 by HuffPost South Africa on Scribd

The SABC is, by far, the most influential media force in South Africa.

While the judgment is under appeal by the Communications Minister, she has signed a court order agreeing to abide by an independent appointments process until the appeal is heard, says Limpitlaw.