The chairwoman of the South African Broadcasting Corp.’s board has defended the recent appointments of three African National Congress activists to senior posts.

In an internal memorandum, Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri said the men were appointed solely on the basis of journalistic experience.

The SABC board has been roundly condemned by left-wing and right-wing political parties, media groups, watchdog bodies and trade unions for what they claim are blatantly political appointments.

One of those appointed, Zwelakhe Sisulu, is the son of ANC deputy president Walter Sisulu and was jailed in the 1980s under tough apartheid laws. He has been appointed assistant to SABC chief exec Wynand Harmse.

Taking senior posts at SABC are Solly Mokoetle, a former journalist of the ANC propaganda arm Radio Freedom, and Govin Reddy of the watchdog Media Institute of Southern Africa.

Matsepe-Casaburri’s memo came out the same day that SABC staff wrote to her expressing concern that the hirings were “a perpetuation of the previous board’s political bias.”

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