Johannesburg - The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has seemingly spiralled out of control as the institution grapples with some damning findings made by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) relating to a security tender that was found to have been irregularly awarded.
Exacerbating the institution’s woes is a board on the verge of collapse and the alleged mirroring of laptops of employees who claim to have been dismissed and treated unfairly by the board while all were embroiled in the security tender scandal.
All this while thousands of workers continue to face an uncertain future at the public broadcaster.
This week, four board members, John Matisonn, Mathata Tsedu, Krish Naidoo and Khanyisile Kweyama resigned under a cloud after documents seen by Independent Media from the SIU confirmed that the board awarded a security tender worth R185 million irregularly.
In the same documents, the SIU also found that there was financial misconduct and contravention of sections 38 and 45 of the PFMA for failing to act in the best interest of the SABC.
President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday accepted and confirmed the resignation of four SABC board members.
In the midst of the tender irregularities that rocked the institution earlier this year, the trail of destruction left behind got so bad that a senior SABC manager had a mental breakdown and was subsequently admitted to hospital for major depression after she was fired.
Simon Molaudzi, the institution's head of SCM was also sacked by the board in the midst of the SIU investigation where the pair claim that they were incessantly harassed and “spied” on while the SIU conducted its investigation.
The four board members stand accused of appointing Mafoko Security Patrols as the preferred bidder when they came second in the bidding process, which led to a legal challenge by the top-scoring bidder, Mjayeli Security.
In documents, the SIU further stated that it was preparing disciplinary and criminal referrals and would request for the courts to set the contract between the SABC and Mafoko Security Patrols aside.
“The SIU will also request a just and equitable order seeking to recover monies lost,” it said.
Further information obtained reveals that In late March 2018, upon the advice of the SABC’s attorneys, Molaudzi was requested to depose an affidavit which stated that the SABC should oppose the highest scoring bidder’s litigation.
Molaudzi refused as that would mean breaking the law.
“As soon as I refused, my access to the network was terminated and when I queried this with IT, I was told that it was an instruction from HR. What followed this was my suspension which was not even on a letterhead,"said Molaudzi in an affidavit.
However, responding through their lawyer, Tebogo Malatji, of Malatji Kanyane Incorporated, the SABC four board members denied that there were any findings despite there being evidence to the contrary.
Malatji said the pair were irregularly appointed and that the SUI’s report was due on March 31, 2019.
"The report of the Parliamentary Ad-Hoc Committee on the SABC Board Inquiry has a statement to this effect. An internal investigation also concluded that Simon Molaudzi was irregularly appointed,” said Malatji.
When asked why the board members resigned in the midst of tender fraud, Malatji said: “There is no link between the resignation and the security tender. At any rate, resignation of a person cannot lead to them legally escaping the consequences of their conduct.”
Neo Momodu, the spokesperson of the SABC said the matter was under investigation with the SIU and could not comment.