An SABC executive was forced to eat humble pie as he was made to apologise to MPs conducting an inquiry into the affairs of the broadcaster’s board yesterday.
The chairman of the parliamentary ad hoc committee conducting the inquiry, Vincent Smith, told the inquiry that he had been reliably informed that someone in the SABC delegation had during a media briefing last week, compared MPs overseeing the inquiry to a “kangaroo court”.
“If you are there I suggest you stand up and apologise to Parliament,” Smith demanded.
A sheepish SABC group executive for human resources Mohlolo Lephaka rose from his seat, admitting to his damaging words, and withdrew his statement unconditionally.
Smith lashed out at more than a dozen SABC executives and employees who were part of a delegation from the broadcaster sent to the inquiry yesterday. He accused them of wasting taxpayers’ money. They were not testifying but had flown down from Joburg to be present for SABC board chairperson Mbulaheni Maguvhe’s testimony.
Earlier SABC company secretary Theresa Geldenhuys was in the hot seat as MPs questioned her about her integrity and her role in the collapse of governance at the public broadcaster.
She was asked to explain why she was part of Maguvhe’s delegation of SABC staffers who staged a walkout of the inquiry on its first day last week.
Geldenhuys was apologetic, but she stood with Maguvhe as “he was not being treated constitutionally”.
Geldenhuys, whose duties include providing advice and guidance to the board, painted a picture of a board at war with itself, denying any culpability in advising the board wrongly.
While she conceded being aware the process followed by the board at its board meeting on July 7, 2014, which approved the appointment of the controversial Hlaudi Motsoeneng as permanent chief operating officer was not done properly, she said she did not raise the matter with the board.
She could not confirm previous testimony from former board members and executive managers that staff had been purged following Motsoeneng’s appointment.
She admitted the board, prior to the mass resignations which left Maguvhe as the sole non-executive director, was at war with itself.
Geldenhuys claimed she was being “bullied” and prevented from speaking in board meetings.
It also emerged that Geldenhuys, who has already reached retirement age, was no longer the company secretary. Instead of leaving, she was offered a short-term contract and now serves as the SABC’s group executive: governance and assurance.