The Observer (Kampala)

23 March 2014

Ugandan Lands Top Job in South Africa

A Ugandan accountant and auditor has scooped a top job at the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), the national broadcaster of the continent's largest economy.

In a statement on Friday SABC said Joel Aguma became the corporation's acting chief finance officer (CFO), one of the corporation's most senior positions. Aguma's appointment was announced along with that of SABC's new acting chief executive officer, Tian Olivier, on the recommendation of the corporation's board of directors.

"Mr Olivier and Mr Aguma's appointments are based on their extensive knowledge and a proven track record as senior managers currently at the SABC," said spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago.

"The SABC board is confident that these appointments will provide the required leadership to turn around the SABC while maintaining the public broadcasting mandate."

News of Aguma's appointment excited his fellow Ugandans in South Africa. Stephen Twinoburyo, a former chairman of the Association for Ugandan Professionals in South Africa (Aupsa), described the appointment as a massive professional milestone for Aguma.

"That's huuu....ge! SABC is South Africa's BBC. It is the main broadcaster in both TV and radio," he said.

SABC, one of Africa's largest public broadcasters, manages 18 radio and three television stations. Last year, it launched a 24-hour news channel, which is available across Africa on satellite television.

"Aguma is a hard worker and very focused. He has that determination to rise higher. He is also meticulous in his work," said Twinoburyo, who worked with Aguma at Aupsa, where the latter served as publicist.

Another South Africa-based Ugandan, David William Rukanshonga, described Aguma on social media as deserving of the position due to his character.

"[I] have known him since school days, though he was a few classes ahead of me, as one hard-working, straightforward, smart, strict kind of guy and very intelligent but with a big heart," Rukanshonga said.

Over the years, SABC has been plagued by a series of management controversies, which have seen several top managers leave. The appointment of Olivier and Aguma follows the resignation of SABC's CEO Lulama Mokhobo and the dismissal of its CFO Gugu Duda.

Spokesman Kganyago said South Africa's Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration had found Duda guilty of misconduct, and she was dismissed on March 19, local media reported.

Before Aguma rose to his new position, he served as general manager for strategic support at SABC. He was seconded to the public broadcaster from the Office of the Auditor General of South Africa, where he served for nearly nine years and had risen to the position of senior manager.

Aguma, who is in his mid-40s, has also worked as an assistant manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers in South Africa. He holds a bachelor of commerce degree from Makerere University (1991), and a bachelor of commerce degree and postgraduate diploma in accounting from the University of Cape Town (1997, 1998). He also holds several professional qualifications.

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