Parastatal chiefs play musical chairs in boardroom drama

2015-04-03 16:02

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Boardroom dramas continued to grip key parastatals in the last two weeks as the SABC axed two more board members, the suspended chief executive of South African Airways answered the charges against him, and Eskom’s long-serving chairperson quit.

There is still no clarity on the allegations levelled against SABC nonexecutive directors Rachel Kalidass and Ronnie Lubisi, whose removal last week followed that of fellow director Hope Zinde.

Communications Minister Faith Muthambi’s spokesperson Ayanda Holo – after first referring City Press to a media statement saying Muthambi received and supported the decision to remove them – would not answer any questions.

“These questions are very operational,” he said. “It’s best to forward them to the SABC.”

Mbulaheni Obert Maguvhe, the public broadcaster’s acting chairperson, said last week that Kalidass and Lubisi were removed after allegations that they acted fraudulently and did not disclose conflicts of interest.

This followed the removal of Zinde, who said she learnt about it through the media, for the same allegations as well as divulging board matters to external parties without a mandate.

Holo did not respond to questions about whether criminal charges were laid for the alleged fraudulent conduct.

Suspended SAA boss Monwabisi Kalawe has delivered his response to disciplinary charges brought against him by the national airline, according to business wire service Bloomberg, which quoted his lawyer Maurice Crespi.

Kalawe’s lengthy charge sheet, according to SAA, includes failure to comply with public finance laws and the airline’s procurement policy, as well as its employment policy. He is also alleged to have had an improper relationship with a senior female employee within the group.

Crespi ignored requests for comment from City Press. One of his associates said he was under strict instructions not to speak to the media for now.

SAA spokesperson Tlali Tlali did not respond to emails requesting comment, but had earlier requested the media to respect the disciplinary process.

Yesterday, Kalawe launched a Labour Court bid to interdict the disciplinary hearing.

Eskom chairperson Zola Tsotsi resigned after facing a motion of no confidence from fellow board members earlier this week. The motion was reportedly brought about because of his lack of understanding of corporate governance principles.

Tsotsi, a nonexecutive director, was said to have interfered in executive decision-making, signing binding letters of commitment with suppliers on behalf of the power utility.

After making representations to the board in a meeting that lasted late into Monday night, Tsotsi decided to step down, with former SABC chairperson Ben Ngubane stepping into the breach in the interim.

Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown said she had received Tsotsi’s resignation letter.

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