MPs want action against SABC execs’ 'reckless behaviour’

2017-02-15 06:09

MPs want action to be taken against SABC executives who continue to appeal court matters and enter into contracts despite the ongoing inquiry into the broadcaster’s affairs.

The special parliamentary committee probing the SABC met yesterday and MPs across the political spectrum voiced concern over what they termed “reckless” behaviour by SABC executives.

The matter was brought up by ANC MP Jabu Mahlangu, who questioned the decision by SABC to challenge the court’s decision to set aside Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s appointment at the national broadcaster.

Mahlangu said under normal circumstances such a decision would be taken by a board of directors, but there was no board at the SABC.

He said he didn’t understand how the SABC would deal with such a matter while the Parliament’s ad hoc committee into the affairs of the SABC was dealing with the same matter and had discussed it in the presence of SABC leadership in December.

“This is a very, very serious concern as to what is happening at the SABC, what are we dealing with in that space.”

Mahlangu said the committee would have to make very serious decisions because there was a question of accountability that needed to be satisfied.

“It is time that either Parliament takes a decision or as we enact law, we make it clear that when people take reckless decisions, like the one at the SABC, they should pay out of their own pockets,” said Mahlangu.

“We cannot allow a situation where public funds are just used recklessly by people employed by the state.

“As we were going through this process, the officials of the SABC were part of this meeting, they know the heartbeat of this committee about a range of things; but they go out of here and do exactly the things we are reflecting on,” Mahlangu said.

Another ANC MP, Patrick Chauke, said the portfolio committee that oversaw the SABC should have stopped the broadcaster from going to court.

“When the portfolio committee fails to discharge its duties, then it becomes a problem,” said Chauke.

He said there were contracts “happening at the SABC fraudulently, as we speak”.

Chauke said “the so-called executive at the SABC” were undermining the parliamentary process.

“It’s a clear demonstration that they don’t care. But I want to make it clear that action will be taken; that come will come,” he vowed.

The Times newspaper reported this week that the SABC entered into contracts around Christmas despite the parliamentary probe into the corporation.

Lack of faith

The Inkatha Freedom Party’s Narend Singh accused the SABC executives of not acting in good faith.

“While we are dealing with all the issues here, there seems to be no good faith from certain members of the SABC,” he said.

Singh cited reported comments made by SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago in the media, about how the SABC would not change its policies “no matter who says what”.

“I think they need to be told to act in good faith and not treat this committee with contempt,” said Singh.

The Economic Freedom Fighters’ Fana Mokoena wanted Communications Minister Faith Muthambi to get an explanation from the remaining SABC board of executives as to why they continue to take the “terrible decisions” they are taking at the SABC.

The committee, as proposed by the Democratic Alliance’s Phumzile van Damme, felt the matter should be referred to the communications committee, which is responsible with overseeing the SABC.

The SABC inquiry is expecting submissions to its draft report by tomorrow’s deadline. Only five submissions had been made by yesterday – by the so called SABC8 group of journalists, Phil Molefe, SABC presenter Dumile Mateza, the broadcaster’s former head of technology Sipho Masinga and a public relations company, Foxton.

The committee will meet again next Tuesday.

Andisiwe Makinana
Parliamentary journalist
City Press
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March 18 2018