Hlaudi Motsoeneng was paid an R11.4m bonus for selling the SABC's archives. Picture: Dumisani Dube
Hlaudi Motsoeneng was paid an R11.4m bonus for selling the SABC's archives. Picture: Dumisani Dube

SABC board under fire amid scandal

By Siyabonga Mkhwanazi Time of article published Sep 26, 2016

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Cape Town - Parliament has refused to budge after civil society on Sunday called for the dissolution of the SABC board for failing in its fiduciary duties.

This followed the latest scandal to rock the SABC: that Hlaudi Motsoeneng has been paid a bonus of R11.4 million for selling the public broadcaster's archives.

This excludes another R33m to be paid to the controversial SABC chief operating officer.

On Sunday, civil society called for Parliament to dissolve the board for failing in its fiduciary duties and "running the SABC into the ground".

Motsoeneng, who refuses to go despite a recent Supreme Court of Appeal judgment, was paid the R11.4m last week.

Chairperson of the portfolio committee on communications Humphrey Maxegwana said they would not dissolve the board "at the whim" of civil society.

The committee will ask the board to appear before MPs next month to address some of the issues in the public domain, including Motsoeneng's bonus.

Once the SABC board had given the committee a report, a decision would be taken, said Maxegwana.

The SABC scandal has angered the Save Our SABC Coalition and Media Monitoring Africa.

Co-ordinator for the Save Our SABC Coalition Sekoetlane Phamodi said on Sunday the situation required political leadership.

“If we had a portfolio committee that was principled to ensure there is proper oversight, it would have established, even last month, an inquiry,” he said.

“The bonus was authorised by the subcommittee of the board, which is irregular and against the Public Finance Management Act,” he added.

Phamodi said they hoped Public Protector Thuli Madonsela would widen her investigation into Motsoeneng and include the latest payment.

The SABC sold its archives to MultiChoice for R500m.

“We need to get rid of this board. It has gone too far with its delinquent behaviour,” Phamodi said.

He said the R11.4m paid to Motsoeneng and the upcoming R33m payment was outright looting of the SABC.

William Bird of Media Monitoring Africa said the situation was unacceptable.

“Fundamentally, everyone should be incredibly angry with the SABC board for the way they have behaved,” he said.

“We need to be holding Parliament’s portfolio committee on communications to account because if they had done their job, we wouldn’t be in this position,” Bird added.

“What needs to happen is that you need to get a new board and change parts of the Broadcasting Act. You need a portfolio committee that starts to do its job, and you also need a regulator that starts to do its job,” he said.

In reference to the bonus, SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said he would not discuss issues regarding the board.

He also declined to comment on calls by civil society for the board's dissolution.

“We cannot comment on that issue because the board is not appointed by the SABC,” he said.

Maxegwana said the committee would raise issues with the board when it appeared before MPs on October 11.

Entities falling under the portfolio committee will be tabling their reports.

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