Johannesburg - The newly appointed SABC board has been rocked with a possible scandal following the sudden resignation of one its board members.
Rachel Kalidass resigned on Thursday and penned a resignation that shed light on her reasons for leaving the board abruptly.
Kalidass said, in a resignation letter addressed to President Jacob Zuma, that she has decided to resign because of a clash with fellow board members over the possible appointment of former Land Bank CEO Alan Mukoki.
She said her fellow board members are held bent on pushing through the appointment of Mukoki even though he had a questionable past.
Mukoki has faced an investigation for fraud and corruption for alleged mismanagement of the Land Bank's finances. He currently works for the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci).
Kalidass said it was these allegations and the possible of conflict of interest that Mukoki's appointment may be create, that led her to resign.
Mukoki is married to Johanna Makgalemele, the sister of Tswelopele Productions owner Basetsana Kumalo.
Tswelopele Productions provides a variety of content for the SABC.
“Despite the GCEO candidate having allegations of fraud and corruption levelled against him during his previous employment, as well as a conflict of interest with a significant SABC content service provider, the majority of board members were in favour of having him appointed as the SABC GCEO. I specifically requested for my dissenting view to be recorded, which was received with great hostility by some of the board members present.”
Kalidass said she faced backlash from her fellow board members for objecting to the choice of candidate.
She took up the matter with ANC MP Mondli Gungubele and expressed her concerns about Mukoki's possible appointment.
She said this decision lead to her being confronted by her fellow board members.
“Board member Khanyisile Kweyama indicated that she had received a call from the member of Parliament concerned, indicating that I had made various statements, including informing Parliament of the board’s confidential process. The board chairperson and members present instructed that such disclosures should have first been authorised by the board, and they considered such action to constitute a breach of confidentiality and fiduciary responsibility if not. This conclusion by board members has impacted negatively on the commitment I made to Parliament and the country," said Kalidass.
She said she was left with no choice but to resign.
“Given this fundamental difference of opinion between me and many of the board members, I feel that it would be best to resign with immediate effect, as opposed to being side-lined and victimised, which I feel is now occurring.”
The DA's Phumzile van Damme said Kalidass' resignation signals that "everything was back to business as usual at the SABC”.
She said the DA would seek urgent intervention on the matter.
"It is deeply worrying that the decline at the SABC is following the same pattern as it did with the previous board. A candidate in Hlaudi Motsoeneng was forced through despite objections from some board members, some board members resignation or where dismissed following their objections, resulting in a terminal downward spiral culminating in the SABC inquiry.
"The SABC is showing all the signs of going down that same road unless the decline is arrested immediately," she said.
Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Communication is scheduled to meet with the SABC next week Friday, but the DA plans to request that the date be brought forward due to Kalidass' resignation.