SABC board chairperson Bongumusa Makhathini. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)

Cape Town - A security risk assessment conducted by the police’s crime intelligence unit has recommended that executives at the SABC who have committed to cleaning up the public broadcaster be given bodyguards.

This was revealed by SABC board chairperson Bongumusa Makhathini to the communications portfolio ­committee.

“Their (executives) lives are at risk. All of them, it was recommended, must have close protection everywhere they go,” he told MPs.

He said the full security assessment report, which had yet to be tabled before the board, posed financial constraints in light of the costs which would be involved.

“No amount of money is worth more than the lives of people. It is important to note if you see the chief executive with two bodyguards, it is what we have been advised by experts to do,” Makhathini said.

The risk assessment was undertaken after an attempt to assassinate the SABC’s chief audit executive, Thami Zikode.

Earlier, the chairperson said SABC executives faced plenty of attacks, and their reputations were being tarnished for holding people to account.

“They hold people to account based on what happened in the past, he said.

The SABC has also had to implement remedial action contained in the investigative reports released by the office of the public protector, by the parliamentary ad hoc committee, and the auditor-general and Special Investigative Unit.

Makhathini said the SABC had ­produced more than 118 forensic reports in just one year.

“Our lives are at risk because of the clean up we drive at the SABC. We need the support of the committee.”

Makhathini said those involved in corruption were not at a lower level, but were people (in higher offices) that had access to journalists who could leak sensitive information.

“We want the support of this committee and the nation,” he said.

Group chief executive Madoda Mxakwe told the MPs there were 10 cases of civil litigation and 11 criminal cases involving SABC employees who were, among other things, engaged in fraud and tender irregularities.

Political Bureau