Explosive SABC report revealed

Cape Town - SABC chairperson Ben Ngubane and SABC group head Solly Mokoetle are the stumbling blocks in the public broadcaster’s road to financial stability and good corporate governance.

Besides Mokoetle’s sustained contempt for the SABC board, Ngubane’s extraordinary, unusual and brazen dereliction of duty means the board is incapable of fulfilling its statutory and fiduciary duties, and that the broadcaster will not be able to cover its expenses at the end of the 2011-2012 financial year.

This is according to a comprehensive and confidential presentation, which will be made to MPs by the SABC board on Tuesday morning.

The presentation, which will take place during a closed meeting of the portfolio committee for communication, was compiled and approved by the whole board without input from Ngubane.

Financial crisis

The board states that the SABC is facing an escalation of the ongoing financial crisis which reached a climax in the 2008-’09 financial year.

It will also confirm to MPs on Tuesday that:

- The relationship between the board and the chairperson has “broken down irreparably”;

- A disciplinary procedure has been launched against Mokoetle; and

- That the board has taken over responsibility for compiling a comprehensive turnaround strategy.

The presentation provides a detailed summary of the board’s activities since it was appointed in January and Ngubane was appointed as chairperson by President Jacob Zuma.

This follows more than two years of conflict, allegations regarding political interference and mismanagement within the broadcaster’s management and board, which eventually led to enormous losses and a government loan of over R1.4bn.

According to the board the current problems at the SABC – including money being wasted, irregularities with acquisition and poor corporate management – could not be solved yet as a result of Ngubane and Mokoetle’s autocratic and at times irregular management style.

Ngubane is being accused of cancelling board meetings summarily and on short notice, withholding information and preventing board members from fulfilling their supervisory role.

Molefe appointment

The main complaint about him involves his unilateral – in consultation with Mokoetle – appointment of Phil Molefe as the SABC’s head of news. The board alleges this does not comply with the SABC’s articles of incorporation nor with a decision by the board.

The board is also alleging that Ngubane “told board members on several occasions that he is acting (with regard to the appointment of the head of news) on direct instructions from the president of the republic”.

Committee chairperson Ismail Vadi, of the ANC, said the meeting is being held behind closed doors so that both board members and Ngubane will have the confidence to discuss their grievances openly.

Opposition parties supported Vadi’s request for a closed meeting. Juli Killian (Cope) said it is time for a “firm hand” to help the struggling SABC to its feet, and that it was decided to keep the meeting private due to the possible legal action which may follow.
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