Parliament wants to recover up to R5.1bn in wasted monies spent at SABC

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Parliament wants to recover up to R5.1bn in wasted monies spent at SABC

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\n TMG Digital | 2017-01-18 07:30:29.0\n \n \n \n \n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n \n\n \n\n\n \n \n

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\n \n \n The committee finished its probe into the fitness of the board to hold office‚ after grilling to former chairpersons‚ Ellen Dr Ben Ngubane and Ms Ellen Tshabalala on Friday.\nFile photo \n \n \n \n \n
Image by: Esa Alexander\n \n \n \n

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\n The first task of a new interim SABC board will be to “institute an investigation into all irregular‚ fruitless and wasteful expenditure” at the public broadcaster.\n

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“And on conclusion of such investigation appropriate steps must be taken against employees who incurred or permitted irregular‚ fruitless and wasteful expenditure.”

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That’s according to a “working document”‚ compiled following the conclusion of the work of Parliament’s ad hoc committee on the SABC board inquiry‚ which emerged on Tuesday night.

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The committee finished its probe into the fitness of the board to hold office‚ after grilling two former chairpersons‚ Dr Ben Ngubane and Ms Ellen Tshabalala‚ on Friday.

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The document‚ which will be discussed on Thursday and Friday‚ also recommends that “steps must be taken to recover irregular‚ fruitless and wasteful expenditure in instances where it can be recovered”.

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“In 2014‚ irregular expenditure incurred by SABC was R990.7-million‚ R2.4-billion was incurred in prior years but discovered in 2014 resulting to a cumulative figure of R3.4-billion. R441.2-million was incurred in 2016. In addition to this‚ R322.3-million was incurred in prior periods but identified in 2016‚ resulting in the escalation of irregular expenditure to R5.1-billion‚” the document says.

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The document also recommends “that the dissolution of the SABC board be expedited and finalised urgently”‚ although this is moot as the last remaining member‚ chairperson Prof Mbulaheni Maghuve‚ resigned last year.

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Maguvhe‚ the committee notes‚ was obstructive and made “several attempts to delay the proceedings”‚ after which he “was summonsed to give evidence before the committee”.

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“He resigned subsequent to his appearance before the committee‚” it says‚ also noting that Maguvhe “indicated – through his legal representatives – that several documents could not be submitted as they related to commercially sensitive information”.

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At his appearance‚ Maguvhe had also defended the appointment of controversial executive Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

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The committee dossier says: “Testimony revealed that the process to appoint the then acting COO‚ permanently was a hasty one‚ which had highlighted the above-mentioned division among board members.

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“Many witnesses expressed disbelief that‚ despite the public protector’s damning findings against the then acting COO‚ the majority of the members voted for his appoitment. The then group executive: human resources’ evidence confirmed that he had not been included in discussions around this appointment.

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“Evidence presented suggested that the hasty appointment was done in contravention of the SABC’s recruitment policies and procedures. Many witnesses further alluded to undue pressure having been applied by the minister of communications.

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The minister‚ Faith Muthambi‚ the document also records was brought up when “witnesses suggested that the minister of communications often interfered in the board’s business in the guise of holding the SABC accountable to the shareholder and in so doing disregarding the Board as the primary mechanism to promote accountability”.

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– TMG Digital

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