File picture: Independent Media
Parliament - Everything possible must be done to prevent the situation at the public broadcaster imitating that of South African Airways (SAA), the country's former accountant general said on Wednesday.

Responding to questions from MPs during interviews of candidates for the 12 member non-executive board, Michael Sass said improving governance and finance were two of the key pillars to turning the cash-strapped organisation around.

"We have to look at finance...we can't have a situation like SAA where we just pour money, money, and more money and we have to sell other government assets that are doing well," Sass told Parliament's communications portfolio committee, who are conducting the interviews of 35 candidates.

Sass was referring to the apparent intention of government to sell its stake in Telkom to ensure SAA is able to repay its billions of rand in loans due in September.

He told MPs he had a "strong background in finance and governance", and suggested "drastic" measures were needed to cut costs at the SABC. In addition, those who did not do their jobs properly, were guilty of maladministration or other wrongdoing, should face harsh consequences.

Sass described the former board as "delinquent", while congratulating the interim board, whose term ends on September 26, for doing a "fantastic job".

He identified overstaffing at the SABC as a major cost driver and said there might be a need to reorganise the organisation.

Sass was then grilled about his tenure at National Treasury (NT), which ended two years ago, following revelations that over R1 billion was spent on a failed IT system - the Integrated Financial Management System (IFMS) - during another parliamentary committee meeting on Tuesday.

"I believe I'm an honourable man...if I'm guilty I must take responsibility for what I've done."

"Up to now there is no evidence of any wrongdoing...one thing I would not do is tarnish the integrity of good men like Mr Lungisa Fuzile [former NT director-general]."

African News Agency