SABC, SIU lose court bid to have agreement set aside

A general view of the SABC headquarters in Johannesburg. Picture: Gallo Images
A general view of the SABC headquarters in Johannesburg. Picture: Gallo Images

The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), joined by the Special Investigation Unit (SIU), have lost their court application to set aside a service agreement signed in 2016 with advisory firm SekelaXabiso (SkX) in terms of which the public broadcaster is supposed to pay more than R6 million.

The judgment of the matter, heard on Valentine’s Day (February 14) at the South Gauteng High Court, was finally delivered recently when the court dismissed the application with costs against the public broadcaster.

The SABC had signed the agreement with SkX for advisory work relating to irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure in December 2016 and five months later failed to pay the invoice for a period of three months, allegedly breaching the agreement.

The SABC’s failure prompted SkX to refer the breach to arbitration as per the same agreement and while the process was underway the SIU was requested to probe the issue.

The public broadcaster then approached the high court in December 2017 to have the agreement set aside with the SIU joining in later as second applicant.

The SABC will now have to cough up the money or resort to arbitration if it still believes it has an arguable case to avoid paying what is legally due to SkX.

The court was not required to decide on the merits of the SIU’s investigation and their findings and did not make a ruling on it either.

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