30 August 2017

South Africa: SABC Board Candidates Quizzed On Madonsela Report

The ghosts of the SABC surfaced during the first round of interviews for new members of the public broadcaster's board on Wednesday.

Each of the candidates was asked how they would have handled former public protector Thuli Madonsela's report into the SABC, "When Governance and Ethics Fail", and what they would do to ensure the new board did not go down the same path to dissolution.

The general response was that the relevant laws and regulations should be adhered to and that there should be consequences for those who overstepped the line.

It was the first of three days of interviews before Parliament's communications portfolio committee. Leanne Govindsamy, Rufus Kharidza, Michael Sass and Louise Vale were the first candidates to be interviewed.

Irregularities at the SABC

The irregularities Madonsela listed in her 2014 report included that former SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng lied about having matric when he applied to work at the broadcaster.

This was not the only controversy that reared its head.

Kharidza, a former ANC councillor in the Vhembe municipality, had to explain why he resigned as director of public relations at the University of Venda after allegations that bursary funds were channelled to his daughter.

He said his daughter qualified to receive R32 000 and he was not found guilty of any wrongdoing. He said after the university laid disciplinary charges against him, they offered him a settlement. However, a settlement could not be reached, and the charges against him were reinstated, upon which he resigned.

After Cope MP Willie Madisha questioned his integrity, he said: "You know integrity, as you point out, is not static. It does not mean one is guilty for life."

This answer elicited laughter from some MPs.

Sass was formerly accountant general of South Africa until he left in September 2015 due to his father's illness. He was asked about Treasury's integrated financial management system, on which R1bn was allegedly wasted, with nothing to show for it.

He said a forensic audit had been done, and no evidence of fraud had been found.

"The correct procedures have been followed."

On fake news

This was part of his reason for wanting to serve on the board, to "ensure fake news like this is not produced".

The Gupta-affiliated ANN7 reported extensively on the matter.

"There is a report. If we have done wrong, we have to take accountability. I cannot run away from my responsibility," he said.

Wednesday was Vale's second appearance before the committee. On Tuesday, MPs levelled allegations of mismanagement at the Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA) board, of which Vale is a member.

"I stand by the MDDA board," Vale said.

She said when an organisation was changing, some staff members were bound to be unhappy.

Govindsamy, a lawyer, highlighted the importance of complying with regulations, and integrity.

Interviews would be concluded on Friday evening.

Source: News24

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