Like most crises, the one at the SABC didn’t happen overnight. This build-up has taken over 10 years of unrelenting mismanagement, corruption and political interference. The public broadcaster has been dogged by one scandal after the other since late 2007, with perpetual governance and financial challenges.
One of the biggest contributors to our current situation is the repeated misconduct and dysfunction of the last five SABC boards. The board of a company is a group of elected people that are meant to make major decisions to ensure that that the company’s management is acting in the best interests of the shareholders.
In terms of the SABC, the government is the sole shareholder - but it is meant to be acting in public interest. What we have seen at the SABC, however, are a series of incompetent boards that instead of steering the public broadcaster to operate and broadcast in the interests of the public, has been operating for its own political purposes. This includes using money that the broadcaster doesn’t have to pay the ballooning salaries of executive members instead of paying employees and service provider, as well as making irrational decisions regarding content programming that cost more than the SABC can afford.