On Friday, Media Monitoring Africa and the SOS Support Public Broadcasting Coalition filed a joint urgent application in the high court in Joburg demanding that president Jacob Zuma appoint a permanent SABC board.
By not appointing a board yet, Zuma has yet to comply with this application, promoting them to take further legal action.
William Bird the executive director Media Monitoring says that is the end point for them. He adds that the presidents lack of action has put them in a position where they have no choice but to take legal action.
It's particularly frustrating as a civil society organisation, when we are trying to build our country and help stabilize our public broadcaster, when you then have to resort to legal action, because the president doesn't want to do what he is constitutionally and legally mandated to do.— William Bird, Executive Director Media Monitoring
Prior to legal action, Bird says they sent Zuma a letter expressing their intent to go to court if a board was not appointed. He adds the reasons been given regarding the delay in the process is just not believable.
According to Bird, the key arguments in their court papers include the fact that the presidents role in the appointment of the board is not one where he get to think about who is selected. Read: Presidency says Zuma being thorough with SABC board appointments
Broadly speaking its a rubber stamping position where he has to consider them and say 'this person I nominate to be the board chair and this person I appoint to be the deputy chair. Thank you very much. ' And away you go.— William Bird, Executive Director Media Monitoring
The reason it should be this way, according to Bird, is because the SABC is not like other state owned entities. As a public broadcaster issues of independence are critical.
Listen to the full interview below:
This article first appeared on 702 : Organisations threaten legal action against Zuma over SABC board appointments