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Davis: “Muthambi has a ‘sinister agenda’ for SABC”

Davis: “Muthambi has a ‘sinister agenda’ for SABC”

Democratic Alliance (DA) Shadow Minister of Communications, Gavin Davis, has said that the delayed announcement of yet another SABC board member leaving the broadcaster is a further indication of a “sinister agenda” held by Minister Faith Muthambi.

Speaking in a statement, Davis said Muthambi failed to inform the Presidency of Thembinkosi Bonakele's resignation in July last year, only confirming his departure last month.

“It is not clear whether the Minister’s failure to notify the Presidency of Mr Bonakele’s resignation was a result of bungling, or whether there is a more sinister motive. But the recent purge of three other board members suggests that anything is possible,” he said, referring to Muthambi’s dismissal of senior members, Ronnie Lubisi, Rachel Kalidass and Hope Zinde late last month.

“Minister Muthambi has made ominous noises about reducing the number of SABC Board Members and increasing her own powers over the Board. By not processing this resignation until now, the Minister is reinforcing the perception that she is manipulating the Board to suit her own agenda”.

Davis, who has been involved in a series of spats with Muthambi over a letter she send to certain members in January, requesting motivation as to why they should not be fired, said that a legal document regarding the matter was submitted by Communications Portfolio Committee Chairperson Joyce Moloi-Moropa, to the Office of the Speaker on Sunday, but that a copy should be submitted to the committee for further deliberation into the dismissals.

“The removal of Kalidass, Lubisi and Zinde and the resignations of Bonakele, Bongani Khumalo and Ellen Tshabalala have left the SABC Board barely quorate and without a Chairperson. This weakening of the Board certainly plays into Minister Muthambi’s hands as she continues to exert ministerial power over the public broadcaster,” he said, adding that the latest move brings the broadcaster one step closer into being a state-run mouthpiece.