Showdown looms at state film body with new claims of ‘capture’

2018-08-26 21:26

A dramatic showdown is expected at a meeting of the council of the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) in Johannesburg on Monday as a forensic report into corruption and maladministration comes home to roost and fresh claims of a council split emerge between those who support chairperson Phil Molefe and those who don’t.

In May controversial chief executive Zama Mkosi abruptly quit the foundation after a forensic audit commissioned by the arts and culture department into mismanagement and abuse of funds, among others, implicated “some of the executive and senior management” of the foundation.

Council chose to replace her with a member of their own, Shadrack Bokaba, who took up the reins as acting CEO. Bokaba confirmed this week that he had applied for the permanent CEO position.

But this week fresh claims of “capture” arose at the crucial but troubled state film development body, with claims by numerous insiders that the selection of the next CEO has been “rigged” by a “boys’ club” that includes Molefe and Bokaba, as well as four staff members.

The sources say Bokaba has an unfair advantage over other candidates because of his alleged close ties with Molefe who, it is said, is personally steering the shortlisting and appointment of candidates.

Bokaba strongly denied these and multiple other allegations put to the foundation.

“The short-listing of candidates will be done at the discretion of the council and in accordance with the NFVF’s policies,” he said. “There is nothing precluding me from applying for the CEO position. My application will be treated in the same way as all other applications.”

In response to claims of a rigged appointment by a “boys’ club”, he said: “These accusations are unfounded. The majority of employees at the NFVF are female and the entire executive is female with the exception of the acting CEO. There is
no ‘boys’ club’.”

City Press is investigating many fresh claims of irregular travel, patronage and mismanagement raised by sources. The foundation has denied all such claims.

Molefe also released a statement in response to our queries, which reads: “The NFVF has a number of effective internal and external legal instruments to deal with allegations, test them and apply the appropriate sanction. These detractors have deliberately avoided using available channels because, obviously, they would be required to produce evidence, which they don’t have. For them, the newspapers are the easiest and convenient outlet to spew out their malicious lies because they would not be required to provide evidence. The NFVF council is on track with the process of implementing the recommendations of the forensic report and other current investigations into maladministration and non-adherence to governance issues, hence the ‘fightback’.”

Sources say that aside from management there are also council members implicated in the forensic audit, which was prepared by auditing firm Comperio Consulting.

Sections of the report seen by City Press paint a damning picture of overspending on travel budgets but the full report is said to include far more serious allegations, some of which are criminal.

The department did not respond to questions.

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May 19 2019