Cape Town -
Communications Minister Yunus Carrim has given himself until Monday to respond to the damning public protector’s report on governance irregularities at the SABC, but on Tuesday he asked MPs to pursue why the report only arrived at his office a day after it was released.
“We did not have the (public protector) report until 9.35am (on Tuesday) morning. This matter has to be raised by Parliament with Thuli Madonsela,” Carrim said, adding that he had asked the state law adviser to recommend what should be done. “We will act swiftly.”
His remarks regarding Madonsela follow several bruising interactions the public protector has had with MPs and Parliament in the past year, over how she pursues her mandate and to whom in Parliament she must account.
On Monday, the public protector’s report “When Governance and Ethics Fail”, found the SABC had contravened its own rules and policies on several fronts, including by irregularly appointing Hlaudi Motsoeneng as acting chief operating officer – alongside several other senior SABC managers – as Motsoeneng’s 63 percent salary increase to R2.4 million was irregular.
Claims that Motsoeneng purged senior staff members, leading to the loss of millions of rand, were found to be justified.
A day later, Carrim was forced to put out fires over other adverse governance and maladministration findings – this time by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU), which found over 15 cases of irregularities, conflicts of interests and misspending of more than R230m at the public broadcaster between 2006 and 2008.
The SIU probe also found 698 SABC employees had failed to declare their outside financial interests as did 19 of the 36 board members of that time.
MPs from across the political spectrum on Tuesday expressed concern and disappointment that there had been no action four years after an SIU probe and that no update was provided regarding the report’s statement that several cases were referred to the Brixton police station, National Prosecuting Authority and SA Revenue Service.
Carrim said there would be a meeting of all role-players from his ministry, the SABC and SIU, so a full report could be handed to the parliamentary communications committee at least two weeks before the May 7 elections.