SABC’s top officials quit before PP hearing

2013-03-12 00:00

CAPE TOWN — The resignations of the chair and deputy chair of the SABC board means they have avoided an appearance before the Public Protector (PP).

The board was supposed to appear before the PP yesterday to discuss, among other things, a report of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU).

Chair Dr Ben Ngubane and his deputy, Thami ka Plaatjie, submitted their resignations to President Jacob Zuma at the weekend.

They were involved in a difference of opinion over acting chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

Ka Plaatjie and the board relieved Motsoeneng of his duties at a special meeting two weeks ago. Ngubane was not at the meeting. The next day, he tried to reverse the decision by saying the board did not have the power to make it.

However, Eric Kholwane, chair of the parliamentary communications committee, said Ngubane could not set aside a board decision.

Presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj confirmed yesterday that Zuma had received the letters. He said Zuma regards the matter in a serious light, especially because both senior leaders want to resign at the same time.

Zuma would consider the resignations and make an announcement at the appropriate time, Maharaj said.

Opposition parties, which have been calling for Ngubane’s head, welcomed the resignations.

Cope’s Juli Kilian said the pair’s “frequent interference in broadcasting matters was irregular and they had not achieved success with a turnaround strategy”.

Kilian said Ngubane’s “autocratic management style” had led to several resignations from the board.

Cope also called for the resignation of Communications Minister Dina Pule, who had “been blind to clear signs of maladministration” at the SABC.

UDM leader Bantu Holomisa said he hoped the government would avoid political appointments at the SABC.

Aside from the problems in the board, the SABC’s chief financial officer has been suspended and the COO post is vacant. Only the post of CEO is filled, by Lulama Mokhobo, who was appointed in 2012.

The SABC board asked the SIU to investigate following a damning report by the Auditor-General on the SABC’s financial affairs in the 2009/10 financial year.

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