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Parliament approves candidates to fill vacancies on MDDA Board

07 September 2017

The Office of the ANC Chief Whip welcomes the National Assembly's endorsement of Mr Ronald Lamola, Ms Martina Della-Togna and Ms Nombeko Mbava to be recommended to the President for appointment to fill three vacancies of non-executive members on the board of the Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA).

The MDDA is a statutory development agency for promoting and ensuring media development and diversity which reflects the needs and aspirations of all South Africans. It was created to enable historically disadvantaged communities and persons not adequately served by the media to gain access to the media.

We trust that the addition of these three capable candidates will strengthen the MDDA Board's ability to perform their fiduciary duties in enabling the sustainable development of vibrant, innovative and people centred media.

We take exception to opposition parties questioning the integrity of Mr Ronald Lamola on the basis that he was once a Deputy President of the ANC Youth League (ANCYL). Mr Lamola is a qualified legal expert with a clean and impressive professional record. The attempt to call into question his integrity on the basis of his former links with the ANCYL is not only opportunistic but also rather unfortunate. We reject the unscientific notion that anybody associated with the ANC is inherently corrupt. There is nothing that disqualifies Mr Lamola from being part of the MDDA Board. Being the professional that Mr Lamola is, we have no doubt that he will carry out his tasks in his new role with utmost dedication, diligence and objectivity.

The Portfolio Committee on Communications must engage the Ministry of Communications and the board on the recent reported allegations of staff victimisation, intimidation and mismanagement of funds at the MDDA. The alleged acrimonious relationship between the board chairperson and the acting Chief Executive Officer is also cause for concern.

Given the lack of diversity in our media and high concentration of media ownership in the hands of a few, the MDDA is a crucial instrument of transformation and access to the media and the media industry.

It is therefore of paramount importance that the people leading this agency are united and beyond reproach. We urge the board to work out its differences with the administration of the agency and we look forward to a report by the Portfolio Committee in this regard.

Issued by the Office of the ANC Chief Whip
Nonceba Mhlauli
Media Liaison Officer
072 623 3462

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