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MPs say SABC's Aguma is dodging hearing

Politics
Parliament – James Aguma has been temporarily replaced as acting chief executive of the South African Broadcasting Corporation, MPs heard on Wednesday.

Briefing Parliament’s standing committee on public accounts (Scopa), Communications Minister Ayanda Dlodlo said Tselidso Ralithabo will act as the public broadcaster’s CEO.

Aguma, who is also the permanent chief financial officer of the broadcaster, has not been to work this week, said Dlodlo, adding he had been booked off sick.

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Acting SABC chief executive James Aguma  File picture: Itumeleng English

MPs said they did not believe he was sick, but was trying to dodge appearing before Scopa to account for irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure, with some parliamentarians insisting this was further proof of his disregard for Parliament.

It also emerged that Aguma had sent the interim SABC board correspondence indicating he had given the controversial former chief operating officer, Hlaudi Motsoengeng permission for a press conference in April, in which the controversial former chief operating officer told media he would survive a disciplinary hearing.

The interim board of the SABC had earlier this month indicated that Motsoeneng would face disciplinary action following a ruling by the Western Cape High Court in December last year. The court found that he was unfit to hold any office until such time a fresh disciplinary hearing cleared him of any wrongdoing, or if a court set aside the Public Protector’s report which implicated him in lying about his academic qualifications, purging staff, and giving himself generous salary increases.

In addition, the board said he would face another disciplinary process for his comments in the April media briefing. This was to run parallel with the other disciplinary hearing, which was expected to start on Wednesday.

Asked if Aguma would be suspended for his actions, Dlodlo said she was not in a position to answer.

“I’m not going to call for the suspension of anyone in a public forum,” she said.

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