You can take me to court - Ngubane

2017-01-13 13:57
Former SABC chairperson Dr Ben Ngubane in Parliament. (Thulani Gqirana, News24)

Former SABC chairperson Dr Ben Ngubane in Parliament. (Thulani Gqirana, News24)

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Cape Town – Former SABC chairperson Dr Ben Ngubane has denied being part of the "decline" at the SABC, adding that his accusers must take him to court if they have any evidence of wrongdoing on his part.

Asked by United Democratic Movement MP Nqabayomzi Kwankwa on Friday if he had not contributed to the problems at the SABC, Ngubane was adamant about his innocence.

"Would you not say we are stewing in your soup at the SABC?" Kwankwa asked.

Ngubane said he had no idea what Kwankwa meant.

"We undertook to put things right. We managed to turn the SABC around."

Asked if what he said on Friday should be trusted, the former chairperson said every accusation against him had to be based on evidence.

"Follow the chain, the paper trail, and if there is wrongdoing, there are courts in this country, you can take me there. But if not, then it is based on speculation and you cannot destroy people on speculation. I am inviting you, go to SABC, to Eskom, to Land Bank and find the wrongdoing you are accusing me of," he challenged Kwankwa.

New Age breakfasts

Ngubane said he had found the SABC corrupt and dysfunctional, with no controls in place, with money leaking out all the time, and that it was he who had put a stop to that.  

The second last witness to appear before Parliament’s SABC ad hoc committee, Ngubane was grilled ab out The New Age breakfasts hosted by the public broadcaster during his tenure.

He told the committee that there had been a business plan brought to him regarding The New Age breakfasts, and that the SABC had incurred no costs at all.

He was roasted repeatedly on the deal, with Economic Freedom Fighters MP Fana Mokoena accusing him of lying to the committee, as there had to be production costs.

"I’m putting it to you that you approved the deal because it had a Gupta element. Am I correct?" Mokoena asked.

Committee chairperson Vincent Smith questioned why a media rival would give the SABC that platform, and if it made business sense for the SABC to flight a rival station’s advertising.

"Would you promote your rival? Are you suggesting that there is no mileage gained by ANN7, TNA (The New Age) every time you flight these breakfast shows?" Smith asked. 

As far as he knew, Ngubane said, ANN7 had nothing to do with getting advertisers at all. 

Motsoeneng lauded

Ngubane also repeatedly lauded Motsoeneng for his work within the public broadcaster.

Motsoeneng had lifted the downtrodden in terms of labour brokers, he said, and had been instrumental in the turnaround plans in the region.

"That’s a skill," he said.

Asked if minimum qualifications had been considered at all in the appointment of Motsoeneng as chief operating officer, he said it was not necessary if someone was already acting in that position. 

Meanwhile, the committee has called their last witnesses, but have not closed it to the public.

Smith said while there had been requests late in 2016 to address the committee that had been denied, there was nothing stopping people from submitting affidavits in the matter.

Read more on:    parliament  |  sabc  |  ben ngubane  |  cape town  |  sabc inquiry

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