I saw an amusingly cynical editorial in one of the anti-Zuma newspapers a while back asking the question: What media expert in their right mind would want to sit on the board of the SABC?
This was as a result of someone on the parliamentary portfolio committee on communication saying that, as the latest bunch of nominees for the SABC board didn’t appear to have the remotest idea of what broadcasting is all about, they should probably start headhunting suitable applicants.
I would presume this would mean a thorough search of the ANC cadre lists to see if anyone pops up as a broadcast expert.
But, I thought, they’ve tried this before. Every time they put someone on the board, no matter how loyal they are to the ANC, the minute they started explaining the complexities of broadcasting, and especially how to make money out of it, the shutters started coming down among those cadres on the board who didn’t have a clue about media but would not demonstrate their ignorance by actually asking for expiations and advice.
Instead they just made life for those knowledgeable board members so difficult they just quit.
The problem, of course, is that it is not only the board that desperately needs someone who understands the media business, especially monetising that business. They need a chairman who fits this bill.
In recent years SABC chairmen have been abysmal to the point of consistently wrecking the board and making it look like the bloodiest episode of Game of Thrones.
It is beyond me why the ANC does not just come straight out and admit that they want the SABC to favour them. Who knows, maybe if the SABC comes out of the closet and is openly declared an ANC propaganda platform, there might well be some media experts who would be prepared to sit on the board.
On the other hand, if the ANC would declare once and for all, with its hand on its heart, that the SABC should be independent, then maybe they would get some experts prepared to join the board.
But only if board meetings are open to the public via one of their TV channels.
If they did that and allowed board members to speak freely about what goes on at board meetings, I would be first in line to sign up.
Of course this all sounds like pie in the sky but the fact is until government and its ANC-dominated portfolio committee on communications insists on transparency, SABC board meetings will remain secret – even to government and the mess that is the SABC will just keep getting messier and messier and messier.
Frankly, I must be the biggest optimist known to mankind to keep feeling this urge to write about the SABC, in the desperately forlorn hope that it might make a difference.
It won’t. It never has. It never will.
Want to continue this conversation on The Media Online platforms? Comment on Twitter @MediaTMO or on our Facebook page. Send us your suggestions, comments, contributions or tip-offs via e-mail to email@example.com.