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).
Minister @mmKubayiNgubane wishes to advise the media that all appointments of the COO, CEO and CFO Chief of State Owned Entities are done through cabinet processes and therefore the announcements of the outcome are made by Cabinet— GCIS Media Liaison (@GCISMedia) January 15, 2018
But broadcast lawyer Justine Limpitlaw says the minister is wrong.
Govt. can't. High court confirmed it last year https://t.co/iZCtlVoP2n— Justine Limpitlaw (@JustineLimLaw) January 15, 2018
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.
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.