Nomvula Mokonyane's no show means she has no say in SABC appointments

Minister of Communications Nomvula Mokonyane.
Minister of Communications Nomvula Mokonyane.

South Africa's ministers of communications cannot influence appointments to the board of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC)‚ and that's final‚ thanks to a court ruling on Tuesday.

Incumbent minister of communications‚ Nomvula Mokonyane‚ had brought an application for leave to appeal Judge Elias Matojane's ruling in October 2017‚ which affirmed the independence of the SABC Board. Today‚ Justice Matojane dismissed the application with costs after counsel for the minister failed to appear in the High Court hearing in Pretoria‚ said the SOS Coalition‚ Media Monitoring Africa and Freedom of Expression Institute.

"It's excellent for the independence of the SABC Board because it means the executive members of the Board are to be appointed solely by the non­-executive members of the board and without any requirement of approval by the Minister‚" the organisations said in a statement.

As a result‚ the SABC Board can proceed with the process of filling the vacant CFO and GCEO positions‚ "independently‚ without ministerial interference‚" they added.

The board can also institute disciplinary process without ministerial interference.

The three organisations said the SABC has long been "suffering the effects of the chaotic cycle of revolving musical chairs happening at board level and the impact of gross and unlawful political interference across the public broadcaster".

Now‚ the SABC board can "move boldly and swiftly in carrying out their fiduciary duties".

"It is a positive step for entrenching independence of our public broadcaster and our democracy."