SABC board member Kalidass not a victimised whistleblower – SABC board

(Supplied)
(Supplied)

Pretoria – The new SABC board said that board member Rachel Kalidass, who resigned from the board after being supposedly victimised for raising concerns about a candidate for the group CEO position, is not the persecuted whistleblower that she is making herself out to be.

Addressing a media conference at the SABC offices in Johannesburg on Thursday, SABC board chairperson Bongumusa Makhathini suggested that Kalidass had not only failed to disclose all the facts, but that her resignation contained inaccuracies and that she breached board confidentiality.

"Ms Kalidass' self-characterisation as a victimised whistleblower is incorrect," said Makhathini.

On Wednesday, in her resignation letter, Kalidass said her questioning of the suitability of candidates considered for the group CEO and chief operations officer positions was met with great hostility and she was attacked.

"Despite the GCEO candidate having allegations of fraud and corruption levelled against him during his previous employment, as well as a conflict of interest with a significant SABC content service provider, the majority of board members were in favour of having him appointed as the SABC GCEO," Kalidass said in her resignation letter.

"I specifically requested for my dissenting view to be recorded, which was received with great hostility by some of the board members present.

"The board further agreed that evening to set up a 'cleaning up committee' of board members with media experience, which would respond to the anticipated 'bad publicity' following this appointment."

Makhathini said Kalidass' resignation letter contains a number of inaccuracies and added that several members expressed reservations about the candidate while Kalidass had remained silent during the interviews of the candidate and did not raise her concerns.

Breach of confidentiality

"When she raised them later, board members questioned why she alone had failed to raise concerns when she had the candidate available to respond. We regarded this as a matter of fairness," said Makhathini.
 
"All members were aware of some allegations, but required that as a matter of good governance and fairness, we check these thoroughly, in view of known cases where people have been falsely maligned."

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According to Makhathini, Kalidass said she would provide a clear written position giving her reasons, but repeatedly failed to do so.

Makhathini also said that Kalidass had broken board confidentiality when she disclosed information to Parliament and several media outlets. In her resignation letter, Kalidass said she had sought assistance from an MP.

"She participated in a board discussion in which no allegation of illegality was committed or contemplated. She then disclosed its content outside the board while the process was ongoing; giving the impression that it had been completed. Her conduct constituted a breach of board confidentiality."

Kalidass admitted she had shown bad judgement, apologised and offered to resign. No allegation of wrongdoing by the board was suggested, Makhathini added.

Kalidass' resignation comes just a month after the new board was appointed.

The process of appointing SABC executives remains incomplete.


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