Minutes of Cup footage ‘cost SABC R1,27 mln’

2013-08-05 00:00

THE SABC has allegedly paid over R1,27 million for 10 minutes of footage from the 2013 Fifa Confederations Cup in Brazil.

This was one example of the public broadcaster spending large sums for very little return, said the Broadcasting, Electronic, Media and Allied Workers’ Union (Bemawu). The union is struggling to negotiate salary increases and bonuses.

It said the SABC had paid for seven of its journalists to cover the tournament in Brazil from June 15 to 30 and then did not use the footage they sent back. Bafana Bafana did not compete in the tournament.

Sister paper Beeld has reliably learned that less than 10 minutes of the Brazil footage was aired and this did not include footage of actual matches because the footage was either of poor quality or had missed deadlines.

The broadcaster also paid 25 choir members R1 000 per hour for rehearsals. In June, the choir members rehearsed for 10 hours and were paid R250 000.

The SABC must also pay R1,76 million to Lumka Holdings, a Johannesburg-based recruitment agency, for appointing three senior managers.

Hannes du Buisson, Bemawu president, said such large-scale wastage of money was bad news for the SABC and its employees.

Du Buisson said the union was now threatening to strike because the public broadcaster refuses to go higher than an increase of 7,44% for the about 1 000 Bemawu members.

SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago declined to comment on these payments, saying they were “internal processes and decisions” that had nothing to do with the media.

He added the SABC did not comment on allegations that could not be proven.

Regarding the payments to the choir members, he said the SABC paid “freelance choir members” R10 000 per month for “rehearsals and performances”.

He confirmed the payment to the recruitment agency, saying the managers had started working in June and the recruitment of important managers was of “strategic importance”.

Beeld learnt that Zweli Mthembu, the newly appointed strategic head, has already resigned.

Kganyago responded that each employee had a legal right to decide where they wanted to work.

The SABC has only paid R775 200 of the total amount due to Lumka Holdings.

Du Buisson said the wastage was demoralising staff, especially if the broacaster claimed it did not have money for increases, but then wasted money for low returns.

“Steps must be taken against the persons who are responsible for such waste,” he said.

After Beeld had queried the allegations, Sizwe Nzimande, head of sport, allegedly threatened SABC employees with a “forensic audit” to find out who leaked the information to the paper.

A report by independent auditors in the SABC’s 2011-12 annual report states that R22,12 million was lost to useless or wasted expenditure.

Three independent auditors ascribed the wastage to a lack of efficient and economic use of financial resources.

“The executive head and council must be charged with maladministration. This is more than R22 million that could have been in the SABC’s account,” Du Buisson said.

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