There is no crisis at the SABC and it is not on autopilot without a board, according to spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago.
“The board doesn’t run the SABC’s activities. The SABC has got management which makes things run. It is business as usual, whether there is a board or not. There is no crisis,” he said in the wake of the resignation of the last-remaining board member, chairperson Mbulaheni Maguvhe.
“The SABC works. I have always said to people that it is about broadcasting, and broadcasting is happening as usual every day – from 7de Laan at 7pm and Generations at 8pm. There has never been a day when nothing is on air, that would be a crisis,” said Kganyago.
He confirmed that Hlaudi Motsoeneng – who is at the centre of the unfolding scandal at the public broadcaster – had not visited the office or reported to work following the high court ruling last Monday that found his latest appointment – as group executive of corporate affairs – was unlawful and irrational.
The SABC had not determined how to proceed, or whether to appeal. “Our lawyers were busy with the inquiry at Parliament so there has been a delay. We will wait for legal advice,” he said, adding that the festive season was also slowing down the process.
Kganyago said it was up to the police, not the SABC, to investigate complaints that witnesses such as the so-called SABC 8 had been receiving death threats. “The matter is with the police,” he said.
As far as he was aware, the broadcaster had not provided extra security to affected staff members.
“Exclusive” reports yesterday that Motsoeneng had been implicated in fraud regarding procurement were “nothing new”, Kganyago said, but rehashed information that had emerged during the Parliamentary ad hoc committee’s inquiry into the SABC that adjourned for the holiday season last week.
“The allegations are all in the public domain. We are not going to pre-empt the inquiry by commenting,” he said.
Meanwhile, Parliamentary ad hoc committee chair Vincent Smith said that it was also business as usual for MPs to conclude their inquiry into the SABC when they reconvened on January 10.
The mandate of the committee went beyond the question of whether the board was fit and proper, and extended to issues of compliance with legislation and financial management and whether the SABC had implemented the 2014 recommendations of the Public Protector.
“We are operating under the mandate of the National Assembly, and the committee cannot act on its own accord. We are bound by a resolution of 400 members in the house,” said Smith.
“We can’t stop halfway. In the process of our work, there have been so many revelations that would concern South Africans. It would be irresponsible for the committee to say that now that there is no board, we should close shop.”
He said it would be up to Parliament, not the ad hoc committee, to decide to convene a special sitting of the communications portfolio committee to establish an interim board.
Asked whether any pressure had been put on him to pull the plug, Smith said: “I have received no call from anyone, no pressure, no guidance or criticism.”
He said he was “heartbroken” that it had taken so long for Maguvhe to quit.