Former Communications Minister Dina Pule. Photo: Simphiwe Mbokazi.

Three months before the SABC’s suspended chief financial officer was appointed, Communications Minister Dina Pule held “secret meetings” with her, according to an internal report.

The minister apparently offered Gugu Duda the job.

In turn, Duda allegedly promised a former colleague, Nomakhaya Malebane, a job as deputy chief financial officer “to assist her in the office as the CFO due to her (Duda) lack of sufficient experience and exposure as a financial manager at an executive level”.

Malebane was hired as one of the two consultants in Duda’s office at a cost of R137 500 a month.

The allegations – which were made by Malebane – are contained in a forensic report titled “various allegations in the office of the CFO” compiled by the public broadcaster’s forensic audit unit.

The status of the report, dated September 2012, could not be established, as neither the SABC nor its board wanted to comment on it.

SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago said yesterday: “This is an internal matter. Ms Duda was suspended pending a disciplinary process. We will therefore not comment on this until all processes are finalised.”

The report was commissioned at the behest of board chairman Ben Ngubane, who wanted the unit to probe the hiring of two consultants – including Malebane – in the office of the CFO.

Ngubane could not be reached for comment. Ngubane and his deputy, Thami ka Plaatjie, resigned from the board last week amid the crisis around controversial acting chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng. The report comes after The Sunday Independent last week revealed that Pule had written to the board, indirectly demanding the reinstatement of Duda and Motsoeneng.

Duda was suspended on full pay last September for allegedly signing off a R3 million sponsorship of the ICT Indaba without the permission of the board. Pule was in hot water after it was revealed that her lover benefited from the sponsorship of the indaba.

 

Malebane did not want to comment on the report. According to a timeline compiled by Malebane for the report, in December 2011, Duda apparently told her in confidence that she had been to two meetings with communications officials and “and other ANC bigwigs” and was on standby for a meeting with the minister at any time. “These secret meetings and interaction continued up until the end of December.”

According to Malebane’s timeline narration, between December 26, 2011 and January 3 last year the discussions were finalised and it was considered a “done deal” that Duda would become the SABC’s CFO. “DP (Dina Pule)… met GD (Gugu Duda) and confirmed to her that she is her choice and all that needs to happen is to endorse this through formal board interviews and recommendation to minister, who has a final stamp of approval,” according to Malebane.

 

Pule’s spokesman, Siya Qoza, said the minister would not comment on the report as she had not seen it. Pule said the board had not told her about the report.

The report stated that Malebane’s allegations warranted further investigation. It also recommended disciplinary action against Duda.

Duda said yesterday she could not comment as she was still facing a disciplinary hearing.

She said her lawyer needed the report to prepare for her hearing but the board did not wish to release it to her.

 

Malebane had previously worked with Duda at Transnet in 1999. Malebane was a finance manager while Duda was a student on an internship.

Duda allegedly offered Malebane a six-month contract as an interim measure while she finalised Malebane’s five-year contract as the deputy chief financial officer. But according to the report, there was a massive fallout between Malebane and Duda when the former refused to comply with the CFO’s demands. Malebane was to assist the sport department management to prepare for their year-end audit, but Duda allegedly told her later to stop as she wanted the department to receive a qualified audit so that she could dismiss the general manager of sports finance. When Malebane refused to comply, she was allegedly not allocated any tasks or business units.

 

The Sunday Independent understands Malebane has taken the ailing public broadcaster to the CCMA for unfair dismissal and that the contents of the forensic report were part of the SABC’s submission to the commission. The other consultant, whose name is known to The Sunday Independent, was hired as the executive internal controller, earning R110 000 a month. His contract had not been signed while he was employed at the SABC.

Duda had apparently motivated the appointments to group chief executive officer Lulama Mokhobo and group human capital services, saying both consultants were “very specialised roles that were needed so that the CFO would be able to hit the ground running”.

According to the report, Malebane’s and the second consultant’s contracts did not specify designations or job descriptions.

But the human capital services department told investigators that they could not include deliverables in the two contracts as Duda had not indicated who would be responsible for which aspects of her motivation to the group chief executive. - The Sunday Independent