How the SABC board failed the public broadcaster - leaked document

By Drum Digital
19 January 2017

The leaked document from the parliamentary ad hoc committee looking into the SABC board has detailed how it failed the public broadcaster

Cape Town – .

These failures range from failure to prevent irregular, unauthorised, fruitless and wasteful expenditure, to failing to implement the remedial actions of the Public Protector report titled When Governance and Ethics Fail.

The working document was leaked on Tuesday, and is subject to substantial changes when committee members will deliberate on its contents on Thursday and Friday.

The draft document is expected to be completed by Friday by Parliament’s adhoc committee probing the SABC board’s fitness to hold office.

"The Board of the SABC failed to discharge its duties as contemplated in the PFMA by failing to take effective and appropriate steps to prevent irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure, as well as failing to act against employees that incurred these expenditures.

R34.7m of fruitless, wasteful expenditure

"The Board failed to ensure that an appropriate procurement and provisioning system which is fair, equitable, transparent, competitive and cost effective exists as required by Section 51(1)(a)(iii)," the document reads.

An amount of R34.7m of fruitless and wasteful expenditure was incurred in 2016 and a total of R92.5m of fruitless and wasteful expenditure still awaits condonation.

The document states that the board also failed to ensure that the SABC maintained an effective and transparent system of financial and risk management, as well as internal control.

The board had also failed to submit necessary documents to the auditor-genera,l which limited the scope of the audit into irregular expenditure.

According to the report, the board and/or its sub-committees failed to exercise effective oversight over the administration, specifically in relation to adherence to Financial and Human Resource management.

Along with the failing to take the Public Protector’s report seriously, the board "also failed to take the report on review if there was disagreement with recommendation stipulated in the report".

List of failings

Other failings noted in the report include:

- The SABC board made no meaningful intervention in, or at worst were unaware of, the intimidation and threats experienced by the "SABC 8";

- The scheduling of board meetings, preparations and timely issuing of meeting documentation - which included the agenda notices - was inconsistent with normal acceptable practices;

- The regular scheduling of "special board meetings" and the practice of decisions taken through the "round robbin" method was a further indication of the dysfunctionality of the board;

- The company secretary actively and deliberately acted in an obstructive manner when required to provide documentation as requested, citing that there was a lack of board and/or chairperson’s authority to comply with the request;

- Certain executives managers of the SABC changed the reporting lines of the administration in order to render the SABC’s governance structures weak. "This is blatant abuse of power. This had the added effect of creating an environment of intimidation within the SABC," the document states.

Source: News24

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