File photo: Independent Media
Parliament - Parliament and unions have backed the investigation into the SABC after President Jacob Zuma signed a proclamation for the Special Investigating Unit to probe corruption at the public broadcaster.

Chairman of the portfolio committee on communications Humphrey Maxegwana said on Saturday the SIU will dig into the rot at the SABC.

The Broadcasting, Electronic and Media Workers' Union (Bemawu) also welcomed the SIU probe, but warned that its recommendations must be fully implemented by the SABC Board.

Parties in Parliament and the unions have been calling for Zuma to sign the proclamation ordering the probe into the SABC.

In his proclamation, Zuma said the SIU will investigate corruption and wrongdoing at the public broadcaster.

Maxegwana said that this is what the committee has been waiting for.

“It’s paving the way for the investigation to be done around the SABC, because what we wanted from the SABC board is to dig into corruption at the public broadcaster,” said Maxegwana.

He said they were hoping the investigation would be done with speed and noted that they also wanted a report from the interim SABC board on what they would do, now that the proclamation had been signed and the SIU would begin its probe.

They wanted the report soon, also because the term of the interim board was coming to an end.

“We still need a full report from the interim board.

"Now that there is a proclamation, what are their plans? We want it soon. The sooner the better,” said Maxegwana.

Bemawu president Hannes du Buisson said the union welcomed the investigation, but cautioned that in the past there had been a similar probe by the SIU but nothing was done at the SABC.

He said that investigation cost money, but the recommendations of the SIU were not implemented.

“There is no guarantee the investigation will not follow the same route. We can hope (that) the report will be made public, and we should insist that it be made public, so that the recommendations can be implemented,” added Du Buisson.

The investigation into the SABC comes a few days after Parliament also asked the committee to investigate state capture.

This brings to five the number of committees in Parliament investigating state capture since the first four committees were asked a few months ago.

The SABC has been lurching from one scandal to another and has run into financial problems. It has not registered a profit in the past few years and now requires a bailout from the government.

Communications Minister Ayanda Dlodlo has consistently refused to say how much they have requested from the National Treasury to rescue the SABC.

Sunday Independent