Controversial former SABC executive Hlaudi Motsoeneng
A legal showdown is looming between Parliament and the DA after the official opposition threatened to take the ad hoc committee to court for excluding the recommendations in the draft report.

DA deputy chief whip Mike Waters warned that the report could be taken to court as its release flew against the normal practice of including recommendations.

This after the ANC in the committee engineered for the exclusion of the recommendations, and that the report be released with findings and observations. The committee has been deliberating on the SABC problems over the last few weeks since it was established.

However, the refusal by the ANC to include the recommendations split the committee.

The draft report will be sent to Communications Minister Faith Muthambi, SABC acting group chief executive James Aguma and former board chairpersons Ellen Zandile Tshabalala and Ben Ngubane.

Dr Ben Ngubane

It will be sent to other affected parties as well.

Muthambi came in for strong criticism in the committee with some calling for her head.

The DA said the ANC refused to include recommendations because they were calling for the axing of Muthambi and Ngubane at Eskom.

Ngubane chaired the SABC board from 2010 until 2013 when he quit. He is currently the chairperson of the Eskom board.

The SABC has been in a permanent state of paralysis for 10 years due to infighting in the successive boards.

The last time the SABC had a permanent board that completed its term of office of five years was in 2007 under Eddie Funde.

Successive boards have collapsed owing to acrimonious battles for the soul of the public broadcaster. Funde’s successor Khanyi Mkhoza's tenure was mired in controversy, and she resigned in 2009.

Enter Ben Ngubane, whose 3-year tenure was also characterised by infighting. Ngubane eventually threw in the towel in March 2013.

Ellen Tshabalala

Ellen Tshabalala was equally embroiled in serious battles with her fellow board members.

Tshabalala made a startling claim in her testimony that her tenure was doomed from day one as she had an acrimonious relationship with the portfolio committee on communications.

She lasted for two years and quit in December 2015 after a qualification scandal.

But her successor, Mbulaheni Maguvhe, was just as bad, and he failed to rein in the board.

Former SABC board chairman Professor Mbulaheni Maguvhe

Despite the previous battles on the board the man at the centre of recent board fights and subsequent dissolutions was Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

Three former board members claimed they were purged for opposing the appointment of Motsoeneng by Muthambi.

Ronnie Lubisi, Rachel Kalidass and the late Hope Zinde were removed by the board in 2015.

Motsoeneng was accused by former board members, who testified before the committee, that he was a law unto himself and no one acted against him.

The SABC has been the contest for power within the state and outside. But the departure of Lubisi, Kalidass and Zinde was not the last as the board continued to disintegrate due to infighting.

Opposition parties have accused the ANC of waging its factional battles using the SABC.

Competing factions in the ANC were said to be muscling their influence on the public broadcaster.

Despite being a R6 billion company, the SABC has been handed to Motsoeneng, a man with no matric qualification, and was found by both former public protector Thuli Madonsela and the courts to be irregularly appointed.

The Supreme Court of Appeal also pronounced on Motsoeneng.

But how did the SABC descend into the state it finds itself in today.

The ad hoc committee is following in the footsteps of other committees that also dissolved the previous SABC boards a few years ago.

The only difference this time around was that when the inquiry started the SABC board was almost non-existent with Maguvhe and two other members remaining.

But they all quit in a matter of days after the hearings began. The auditor-general has in the past seven years given the SABC a disclaimer and qualified audit opinions.

This is a reflection of an organisation whose books are so bad that the auditor-general did not look at them.

But in accounting language this is called minor adjustments and errors that need to be corrected.

The SABC has lost R5.1 billion in irregular expenditure in the past seven years.

The last time the SABC made a profit was a few years ago. Last year the SABC lost R411m, followed by another loss of R395m in the previous financial year and more than R500m the year before.The SABC is in a financial crisis because the successive boards have been busy fighting and forgot their core business, to stick to corporate governance.

The latest evidence suggests that the SABC is facing another financial crisis. It is running on empty and the corporation could be scrambling for financial rescue. This is the observation made by MPs in their investigation into the SABC. They said they are looking at the financial rescue of the SABC.

The revolving door that is the SABC board is the sign of our times. Like the NPA which has had eight national directors of public prosecutions in 18 years, the SABC continues to face tough political battles and infighting.The SABC board will remain a revolving door as long as politicians hold sway and directly interfere in the functions of the non-executive directors.

Political Bureau