Parliament - Some of the highly controversial, irregular and expensive policy changes and contracts concluded by the now disgraced former South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) top executives Hlaudi Motsoeneng and James Aguma might come back to bite them if the interim board has its way, MPs heard on Tuesday.
Briefing Parliament's portfolio committee on communications on efforts made to honour the recommendations of a parliamentary ad hoc committee which probed the SABC's affairs, interim board chairwoman Khanyisile Kweyama said legal action would be pursued in an attempt to hold back the pension payouts of both men to cover financial losses the public broadcaster incurred under their watch.
The broacaster would be suing the men for the losses incurred, including the cost of the 90/10 policy, which preferred local content over international content on both radio and television.
Unaudited losses in advertising revenue as a result of the policy stood at R183 million for television and R29 million in radio.
"We have instructed attorneys and we're in communication with pension fund," said Kweyama
“We did not want to be faced with finding out three or six months down the line there is liability.”
It's alleged that proper procurement procedures were not followed when some of the contracts worth millions if not billions of rand were concluded.
Kweyama confirmed that President Jacob Zuma was yet to sign a proclamation enabling the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to probe various dodgy contracts entered into by the broadcaster, leaving MPs like Economic Freedom Fighters MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi frustrated.
"He [Zuma] is delaying the restoration of stability to the SABC... he's delaying justice because there's evidence there's a lot of wrong contracts and there's people that ought to be pursued," Ndlozi said.
Some of the contracts the board want investigated byt he SIU include that of Lorna Vision, MultiChoice, and the ANN7 business breakfasts which saw millions of SABC money used to the benefit of the Gupta-owned rival television station.
Last week, the the high court in Johannesburg ruled in favour of the SABC. Lorna Vision had taken the broadcaster to court after it cancelled the contract with the debt collecting firm earlier this year.
"Not only did they lose, but that contract has been set aside. What that means is we are able to make a claim against Lorna Vision from the time the contact was implemented," Kweyama told MPs.
"We do intend to sue Lorna Visons for profits it made from the SABC."
Asked about the broadcaster's financial situation, board member John Matisonn said the figures for April, May and June showed a "encouraging improvement", and ensured MPs that the SABC remained a going concern.
"I think it was a close call and its very lucky Parliament intervened when it did," Matisonn said.
Negotiations with Treasury was still underway on the SABC's application for a government guarantee, though the board would not be drawn on the amount requested.
"We understand a decision is imminent. In a matter of days we should be hearing about our application to Treasury," Kweyama said.
MPs agreed to call Communications Minister Ayanda Dlodlo to the committee to answer questions on the government guarantee that is being sought.
Asked about the intimidation of staff, including the group of journalists known as the SABC8 who were last year fired for standing up to Motsoeneng's illegal editorial policies, Matisonn said he met with the family of Suna Venter.
Venter was a member of the SABC 8, who died of a stress induced heart condition following death threats, assaults and surviving being shot in the face with a pellet gun.
While there was no news on the police probe, Matisonn said an internal investigation was underway.
"As far as the investigation is concerned, there is some progress. The problem is who the real source was...we can get the small fry, but where did the intimidation really start?"
The board said it was close to finalising the appointment of a group chief executive (GCEO) and a chief operating officer (COO).
A shortlist of five names for chief executive was being kept "under lock and key", Kweyama said to ensure there was no interference in the appointment process.
Motsoeneng, the matricless former COO, was dismissed in June after a discplinary hearing found him guilty of misconduct. Motsoeneng is challenging his dismissal before the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration.
In July Aguma, the former acting CEO resigned before a disciplinary hearing against him could commence.