Political parties welcome suspension of SABC CFO Aguma


Political parties welcome suspension of SABC CFO Aguma

Nomahlubi Jordaan | 2017-05-28 13:13:28.0

Suspended acting SABC CEO James Aguma. File photo.

Image by: Gallo Images / Beeld / Felix Dlangamandla

Political parties and parliament’s standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) have welcomed the suspension of SABC’s acting chief financial officer James Aguma.

The broadcaster announced at the weekend that Aguma had been suspended‚ but would not reveal further details “due to internal processes”.

SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago said Aguma would be replaced by Tseliso Ralitabo‚ the broadcaster’s media‚ technology and infrastructure executive.

Aguma’s suspension comes after calls last week by Scopa for his removal because of his role in the messy state of affairs at the public broadcaster.

Cope deputy president and member of the communications committee in parliament‚ Willy Madisha‚ said the party welcomed the suspension.

“From my interactions with the SABC as a member of the communications portfolio committee and having followed the investigations and findings into the SABC by the ad-hoc committee‚ it is evident Aguma has been complicit in the maladministration‚ corruption‚ destabilisation and abuse of the SABC for narrow political ends committed with impunity over many years‚” Madisha said.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) cautioned the SABC against being run by people connected to the broadcaster’s former chief operations officer‚ Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

“To rescue the SABC… we need men and women of integrity who are (able) to reverse the mess caused by Hlaudi and his cabal. It is therefore commendable that the SABC interim board have taken this decision.

“We call for the process of his hiring to be escalated together with his master‚ Motsoeneng. The two‚ hand in hand‚ caused the financial crisis that has compromised the SABC‚” said EFF spokesman Mbuyiseni Ndlozi.

The ANC study group on Scopa said Aguma’s suspension came after its recent recommendation to this effect‚ pending the SABC interim board’s forensic investigation into irregularities and expenditure in the broadcaster.

Scopa chairperson Mnyamezeli Booi said the committee was optomistic that efforts by the interim SABC board to restore public confidence in the broadcaster would be successful.

The DA’s shadow minister of communications Phumzile van Damme said Aguma should face a forensic investigation and a disciplinary inquiry.

Aguma‚ a chartered accountant‚ has come under fire for wanting to pay Motsoeneng for negotiating a deal with Multichoice.

Aguma has also come under fire for bypassing tender procedures to pay auditing firm PwC R10-million to probe a R370-million tax liability raised by the auditor-general — a job that should have been done by the state broadcaster’s own accountants.

The payment to PwC — which Aguma previously worked for — ballooned from an initial R185 000 to R10-million despite PwC having no contract and the SABC being unable to find an audit trail of the deal.

Before his appointment as acting CFO at the SABC‚ Aguma was in charge of strategy and audit matters for the public broadcaster.

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